Saturday, March 30, 2013 2:37pm CDT

54 degrees F    Sunny    Wind Calm
Sunrise   6:56am  CDT    Sunset   7:38pm CDT
Spring struggles mightily to wipe away every last vestige of winter.
But it has its work cut out for it.
After a long cold winter like this one, it takes every bit of strength that spring has in order for it to make headway this year.
Last night brought our first significant rain of the spring including some thunder.  The rain has been the big 'snoweater' overnight.  But even its prodigious appetite is no match for the amount of snow.  There are still big piles 4 feet deep or more.  And most of the ground is still covered to a depth of 2 feet or more.
After the morning rain, this afternoon has brought bright blue skies, warm sun and definite feelings of spring.  So now the sun continues the rain's mission of being the 'snow eater'.
Most of the deep snow on the lake is now an expanse of slush.  
Overnight it has been transformed.
No longer is it the bright white that it has been all winter.  The white of a snow covered northern lake.  That brilliant white that makes it hard to even look at in the bright sunshine of mid-winter.
Now the lake is a steely gray with brush strokes of white across the surface where the snow refuses to go down under the pressure of rain and sun.
But go down it must.  Eventually.  Ultimately.  Even if ever so slowly.
Even as winter claws and scratches to hang on.  The water on top of the ice will begin to eat away at the ice and turn it into icicles and shards that collapse and expose open water.  But with 3 feet of solid ice on the lake, even that will take a while to accomplish.
Today's high temperature of close to 60 gives way to Monday's forecast high of only 33 degrees F.  Winter is not ready to go down without a fight. 
The sandhill cranes are returning with their racous calls.  Flocks of Canada geese fly overhead, optimistically looking for any open lake and actual water.  For now, they will have to settle for rivers to land on. 
The maple sap is running.  It is the perfect weather for good maple sap runs.  Warm sunny days.  Chilly nights below freezing.  A miracle in and of itself as sweet delicious sap by the ton is pumped 50 feet up into the air through the branches of maple trees.  Squirrels and birds drink the sweet nectar as it oozes forth out of any crack in the tree.  Amazing energy and nourishment for them that is there for the taking.
And none of us stop to see nor understand this miracle of nature.  Only one of countless miracles around us every day. 
But one of the greatest miracles that catches our hearts and minds is the northward migration of our loons.
They are on the move.  Away from their wintering grounds on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.
What is it that tells them it is time to start heading north?  Easily a month later than last year when the lake was already free of ice on March 18th and the loons were already here?
Who is it that tells them that even though their lakes are still locked under solid ice, now is the time to start their long journey north?
Some things seem to be too deep for our mere human minds to comprehend, let along understand.
So we seek knowledge and understanding.
But even moreso, we stand back in awe of all the miracles of life that have been placed around us for our wonder and enjoyment.
Miracles and wonders that are there for us if only we will take the time to stop and look and listen.
And marvel!
During this special time of year, HAPPY EASTER to you and HAPPY PASSOVER to those of you who celebrate Passover.  The greatest miracles of all.
Copyright 2013  Larry R. Backlund