We’ve had a chilly April in southeast Utah, but this year, my neighbor’s barn swallows and the local colonies of cliff swallows returned to their traditional nesting sites two or three weeks earlier than they did during the past two springs.Â A few hundred feet down the road at a cattle pond that drains an alfalfa field, a mallard has hatched an impressive brood of ducklings. Every hour, dozens of starlings crisscross my yard and the surrounding pastures as they zip between nests and their favored hunting grounds in a neighbor’s orchard and field.Â They’re wholly bound up in supplying recently hatched nestlings with meals from the wriggling stream of caterpillars that are plentiful this time of year.Â The paths the birds beat through the air are nearly Point-A-to-Point-B straight, but starlings are not above stopping to steal our dog’s food.Â She has a years’ long feud going with the starlings over their thieving ways.Â The black-chinned hummingbirds began arriving around April 21st, as usual.Â The beginning of our seasonal servitude to their demands for ambrosia marks spring’s arrival in earnest.
Officially, spring has aged over a month since the vernal equinox.Â The light is certainly settling in, lengthening day at both its ends.
Meanwhile, here at WIZ, our Spring Poetry RunoffÂ crested and has run down.Â The last poems have posted, and deliberations to choose which of the approximately 26 eligible entries might win the Spring Poetry Runoffâ€™s Most Popular Poem Award and the Admin Award are about to begin.Â VotingÂ for the Most Popular Poem will be conducted by public poll beginning Monday, May 9,Â and run through Friday, May 13th.Â Poets, please come back and vote, and invite your friends and family members to come vote, too.Â Winners of both awards will be announced on or around Monday, May 16th.
I can hardly believe what a vibrant show of craftsmanship and poetic sensibilities flooded into WIZ this time around, and thatâ€™s with last yearâ€™s offerings being a cornucopia of unanticipated delights.Â Thank you so much, writers, for participating with such high spirit and fine skill.Â Poets and readers who have already put so much time into the Runoffâ€”prepare yourselves to vote, starting next Monday.Â And remember: Each voter will be able to vote for his or her three favorite poems!
Again, good work, participants, and thank you, readers, for sticking with us and reading poems for the last 6 Â½ weeks! Â Itâ€™s been a wonderful spring celebration.Â Well done, everyone.