The Breaking of Buds

The family and I celebrated our second Sunday Slowdown of the year at Lake of the Woods. The park is situated about a 15 minute drive from our home, north of Interstate-74 along the Sangamon River near Mahomet. Today was a cool, grey day compared to the early spring weather we’ve had for most of the week, but signs of spring were evident as we walked along the wooded trails.


The bright green of new honeysuckle leaves and the deep burgundy of wild raspberry decorated the trail, casting color on the fading winter-tinged landscape. Empty, broken nut hulls from black walnut and shagbark hickory lay as evidence of a busy winter by the park’s resident squirrels. Mottled sycamore still shone in bright textured contrast to the dark, furrowed bark of oaks and maples yet to welcome spring. The buds of numerous trees and shrubs stood in bloated attention waiting for nature’s command to burst forth in flowers and leaves.


Wildlife was abundant, including squirrels, Canada geese, woodpeckers and — of particular note — a mated pair of Mallard ducks and a lone male Mallard who was vying for competition along the river.


This was our second Sunday Slowdown in as many weeks, a habit I hope we continue as the weather warms and our natural areas come back to life after their winter hiatus.

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