Japanese honeysuckle on blooming spicebush. Some had been cut last year, some remains, climbing up the branches.

I watch the dried and bleached foliage of young American beech rattle, shake free, and fly, finally. Leaves like a warbler fallout. The curves of the Sourlands, those that I observe from my porch while hanging laundry - are beginning to grow bristly scales of trout lily leaves. Tulip trees, light lovers they are, have opened their buds. Sedges, woodland and meadow, pierce through last year's duff or thatch.

Spring, yes, spring is here at last. With its odd hot day, rushing the Callery pear's stinky blooms open, and giving me a sunburn, sending ticks racing up the sides of my son's playpen... I'm not ready for these things.

In winter, especially this winter, so snowy and icy, with so many cold nights, me shuffling to the bathroom after a diaper change or nursing, guzzling a glass of water or eating a yogurt at some odd hour, 12:30 AM, 2:30 AM, 4:30 AM, flicking on the porch light each time, still snowing, power is still on, hours are still passing, snowing yet, I so looked forward to spring.

And, now I have a child to show this world to, sharing its secrets. Now, I have to alter my language, find new ways, better ways to talk about plants, the land, people... No more "This g*d* multiflora rose is everywhere." "I hate that Callery pear." I'll have to find new ways to tell the truth, share my thoughts, begin with good thoughts, and allow my son to have his own. It's a good exercise for a naturalist.

A back corner of our yard, from left to right, a brief tour beginning the forest: The bendy tulip tree/home to a squirrel family, the understory of multiflora rose, the new exclosure for the woodland garden, the yet uninhabited nest box, the metal, hanging birdfeeder (visited by a bear? knocked off the fence, feeder separated from the chain...also found a big, up-turned rock nearby...). Now back to the left: the flowering dogwood in the fence hoop, the horno, new small garden spot with little bluestem, lowbush blueberry and columbine, and finally a big wet, chunk of maple that we used as a splitting stump - well on the way to becoming soil.