when we returned to the cabin the next morning, we found that the ice had gone out a few hundred meters on the lake , leaving a wide stretch of clear, glass-calm water near the shore.  birds chirped and hopped in the sun-warmed trees, snow patches had shrunk visibly, and a few squirrels chattered to let us know that our return was not entirely welcome.  we left them some piles of sunflower seeds as a peace offering, and went for a long exploratory walk across the road, to visit the big swamp.  spring, although young, was everywhere – in the thawing, soggy ground; in the silver pussywillows; in the ubiquitous mushroom colonies.  i think we picked the right evening/morning to visit.  :)

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