Slowly, very slowly, Presque Isle’s morning sunbeams filter their way through the lagoons, across Marina Lake and down the park’s hidden trails. Yes, winter is approaching at its normal pace. Slowly and surely, it is on its way.
At first, it will show itself simply as white frost on the grass-covered fields of the park. Then, one morning that most likely will be soon, the feathery morning fog will freeze on bare trees, making the whole area look like a crystal palace. In just a few days, a fine skim of ice will creep across the still waters of Horseshoe Pond. Within days, each morning will see more of the ponds and lagoons of the park gathering a light coat of ice.
By mid-January, we will have seen snow blanketing parts of the park; and the lagoons, park’s ponds, Misery Bay and Marina Lake. Most likely, Presque Isle Bay will be frozen solid. That is when skaters, hockey players and fishermen in their little huts will come out like flowers on a sunny day. We have now officially entered the world of black and white.
What do I mean by the world of black and white? Ponder that for just a minute. Remember last winter when you looked out your window into your backyard. What did you see? Wasn’t it basically black and white? I bet even the evergreens looked dark against winter’s paintbrush of white. Winter is the season of black and white. That is one of the reasons that skiers wear such colorful outfits. They will stand out against a black and white world.
Once winter arrives in Erie, there is one color I miss most of all: yellow. In the firm clutches of winter, I find that by January 15th, the color yellow has been long gone out of nature’s color spectrum. Even fall’s stunning gold, bronze and yellow fireworks displays of color have long faded into merely memories and pictures saved on my computer. I know there are many other colors that are not plentiful in winter. However, to me, only yellow sparks a reaction in my simple mind.
` Even in winter, the reds come out in the form of Chokeberries, Cardinals and Red Headed Woodpeckers. The feisty Blue Jays and deep-blue skies over Lake Erie’s ice keep showing up all season long. Of course, winter excursions down Pine Tree Trail and other areas remind me that green is still a winter color. Nevertheless, yellow just is not around in the winter, and I do miss it.
What do I miss? I wish for the return of Dandelions, American Goldfinches and lagoons full of yellow flowered Spatterdock. Then there is the Goldenrod, Black-eyed-Susan, Forsythia and Daffodils to name just a few more. Do not forget my favorite flower on Presque Isle, the Woodland Sunflower. In my mind there never can be too many of these awesome beauties. This little flower is not a sunflower at all. It is a variety of aster that has been adopted into the sunflower family over the years. However, what I miss most is not just the flower, but also simply the color itself. Walking the trails of Presque Isle without color, especially yellow, is a quite different experience from a quiet summer’s walk on the park. Walking in winter is in itself a wonderful experience, yet I do miss the color in the world of black and white. All I can hope for is that a few sunsets over Presque Isle’s ice dunes might open a little hole in the clouds, and a pale, but rich yellow tint might poke its head out of the cloud cover.
However, when spring finally begins to make itself known, most likely the first yellow color I will see on the park will be the enjoyable Marsh-Marigold that usually shows its colors in late April. This will be soon followed by the cute little Cypress Spurge, which is found all over the park. In May, a patch or two of yellow Goats Beard and Water Loosestrife will begin to display their colors.
Depending upon the weather, sometime in late April or early May, the American Goldfinch, Yellow Warbler, Baltimore Oriole and Yellow Rumpled Warbler will begin arriving on the park. Until that time, my goal is to just enjoy a winter of black and white, and work at putting the final changes on my new Presque Isle book.
See you on the park!!
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