C's bookshelf: read

The Peculiar
Maggot Moon
The City and the City
The Road
A Certain Slant of Light
The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer's Craft
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Brown Girl in the Ring
Well Wished
The Innkeeper's Song
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
American Indian Myths and Legends
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Return of the King
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers

C S Peterson's favorite books »

Saturday, March 2, 2013

On Watching the Spring Come In

When the children were small we went on nature walks every week from January to May deep in the Connecticut woods.  
Our friendly neighborhood naturalist, Ronnie Kamphausen, would help us find vernal ponds filled with tadpoles, turn over logs to find salamanders and peek in the speckled red spathes of skunk cabbage, the secret hiding places of bees caught out on a cold spring night.  We moved to Colorado and reveled in the prairie and the mountains but somehow got too busy to just watch each week to see the spring creep in, until now.  
Today we took the first of what I hope will be weekly spring walks near our house to watch for the change of the season.  We saw ducks on the pond, a kestrel in a tree and prairie dogs chirping alarms. We threw snow at each other and covered our boots in mud.  It was glorious.  
Each of us brought some small thing home to sketch as well.  We were inspired to do this by my friend Ruth Ann Olson, who writes a blog about her small farm (  When she was a young schoolgirl in England they would go for a walk each day and every student was expected to bring back some small thing to draw.

So here is to spring as it slowly comes in and seeing the magic as it happens!


  1. Oh, I love the idea of bringing some small thing home to sketch. Or maybe taking a small sketch pad and stopping in a spot to sketch one small thing to write about later. Either way, enjoy your spring is coming walks!

  2. Hi Katie, it was quite a wonderful weather day for a walk, wasn't it? I wonder if Ruth Ann was out riding? Beautiful photos from you, & glad you had some good time with everyone-so busy lately. Nice that you shared about Ruth Ann's blog too. I'll try to sneak that in sometime.

  3. The mood of your slice makes me dream of warmer days. I can't wait for the spring to arrive. We had another snowfall during the night.

  4. I am so glad that I just read this post. I need to get outside and really look for the signs of spring--they must be there. Thank you for the reminder to get outside and appreciate the mud!

  5. I love how elemental this post is. Salamanders, skunk cabbage and bees-the very substance of spring. Nicely captured. I wrote a similar post in my slice of life about lambing in the barn. Thanks.

    1. Hi Terry - thanks for the lovely comment! I tried to comment on your post and had some technical difficulties, though I did eventually get one through!

  6. Boy, if I wasn't ready to start seeing signs of spring before reading this, I certainly am now! Thanks for sharing it and reminding me that it's about time to start actively looking and listening for things to wake up after a cold winter.