Dogwood blooming outside my window.The dogwood outside my window is popping like floured corn. Every hour I look at them, the gray-green buds are bigger, pinker four-petaled blooms. I should set up a time-lapse camera.

Jonquils have been blooming for weeks in the woods behind our home. A pair of House Sparrows have set up housekeeping in the house on the side fence post. I had a repair I wanted to do, but already there are eggs in the nest; repairs will wait.

A Hairy Woodpecker visits daily to check out the Silver Maple for bugs. At least one pair of cardinals hangs out in the bushes at the edge of the wood – but I’ve yet to see a single flicker, for the first year in several.

Down by the creek where I go walking and camera-shooting, clouds of minnows are fresh fish dinner for a Great Blue Heron wading among the Canada geese. At least one pair of geese is “on the nest.” Another two to three weeks we should be seeing some little goslings on the creek.

Which brings up a question. Why is a baby goose a gosling? Why isn’t it a goosling?

And why couldn’t the Coronavirus thing have surfaced in, say November so we could have been on modified house arrest while the weather was cold and rainy?

The good news is we have near my home many opportunities to walk or run without having to work so hard at staying six feet from other runners and walkers. Try that in New York, or Philadelphia, or … cities are good for many things, wandering solo among hayfields and strawberries not among them.

About this time of year in my youth, my mouth would begin watering for strawberries. There was a cultivated field near a bridge where Mom took us kids to pick berries. I loved going to the strawberry field, its long green rows speckled with bright red polka-dots.

One for the basket, two for the tummy, one for the basket, three for the tummy.

The old guy in charge of weighing the baskets and collecting the fee from my mother threatened to weigh me. Fortunately, he had not weighed me when we entered the field.

Grampa loved a huge pile of spaghetti and homemade meat sauce, tamped down with a mountainous strawberry shortcake made with love by his daughter, my mother. She produced a large soft-crusted éclair shell filled with strawberries and covered with cream skimmed from the top of the milk can, then whipped and spooned onto the mountain of berries in a huge sweet cloud of ecstasy topped with one of the hugest most perfectly formed fruit saved just for the purpose.

Some of my favorite berries, though, grew in a field on the way to town before the road started it’s mile-long dive to the village. Even now, well into my seniorship, wild berries seem sweeter and more flavorful than the cultivated variety, possibly because finding them growing for free is way more fun than going somewhere and paying for them.

It’s almost as though Mother Nature is handing out a gift, like a grandma slipping a little boy a cookie when parents are watching elsewhere. Even now, I keep an open eye for the Grand Lady and her bounty of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

From experience, I have learned some places to look, but like that little boy getting goodies from Gramma, I do not reveal the locations of the booty. Suffice to say I go not where other searchers are banned from seeking.

That’s all the hint you get.

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