The blink, that minuscule pause when one's eyelids slide shut and then instinctively reopen to a brand new view.  Sure there are lots of other technicalities like lubrication of the eyeball but they don't really fit the purpose here.  You see spring arrived on the swake sometime between last Saturday and today.  Almost in a blink, the foot of snow was gone evaporating in the stiff spring breeze and that wonderful bright sunshine.  The driveway turned soupy with the sudden thaw and critters seemed to appear everywhere loudly proclaiming their return.

Some critters sang, others paraded, and one waddled.  We shut our eyes one evening to the honking of the geese and awoke the next morning to a robin singing the morning alarm which is a far more civilized way to wake up than an alarm clock.  As the morning sun rose we caught sight of movement across the front of the house.  The deer that had been trekking through the frozen swake for the last couple of months moved their parade route to within spitting distance.  If you were a world record spitter that is.  But it was close, really close.  Then there was the waddler, a porcupine.  In truth it shimmied more than waddled, down from the top of the poplar tree out in the low lands.  A black blob against the early morning sky that was on the ground in record time making its way along the same route as the deer parade.

Kanti was outside revelling in her early morning freedom as that porcupine started its journey down the tree and across the swake.  The humans were inside in various stages of wakeful dishevelment watching the morning news when Greg blinked and caught the movement in the poplar tree.  Its common knowledge on the prairies that the meeting of a dog and porcupine never has a happy ending.  That knowledge sent Greg running through the house out the door, housecoat flapping in the breeze like Superman's cape, hollering for Kanti to come.  Amazingly enough she obeyed, but that meant we had a gigantic dog in the living room window barking and leaping back and forth as the porcupine passed by.  Remember spring is shedding season, so with every bark and leap the fur flew in clouds.  As she carried on, I tried to get a photo of the critter traversing the parade route.  Look closely you'll see that pudgy camouflaged critter.

We were concerned that Kanti might have gotten a little pudgy last winter so we wrestled her onto the scale.  Imagine if you will eighty seven pounds of squirming german shepherd and the challenge of getting an accurate scale read.  If you blinked you missed the digital read out.  More fur floated through the house.  But Kanti did well and once she loses her winter coat we'll be able to feel her ribs again.

Between the flying dog hair and the critters there is plenty of evidence that winter has begun its retreat from the swake.  The poplar tree popped buds since I last blinked and the pussy willows appeared on the bushes along the swake's edge.  A goose landed in a silvery splash of water instead of skidding across the ice.  Last night we heard a different bird's song at dusk; another swake critter has returned.  Spring has sprung upon us in a blink.  Finally -