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Dead skunks on the road sure sign spring is nearPosted Friday, March 5, 2010, at 10:43 PM
"People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
--Former Major League Baseball standout second baseman and manager Rogers Hornsby
Has anyone else noticed a large number of skunk road kills in the last week or so around Greene County?
I've been told that an abundance of dead skunks on the roadways is a tell-tale sign that spring is drawing near.
Can anyone else smile and say, "Amen"?
A few clicks on the Internet shows me that these animals don't really hibernate, but they den up and sleep a lot during winter.
When the weather warms, male skunks get up, stretch and do a little yawning and venture out into the world looking for love.
They may travel for miles during their quest for love and during the trips these slow-moving animals often end up a mess of disaster on the highway.
Female skunks also move around, but not very widely, so most of the dead ones you see on the roads are probably males.
Do you think there is a lesson here?
I'd say if you are looking for love, walking across the highway very slowly is looking for love in all the wrong places.
Spring officially arrives March 20 at 1:32 p.m. EDT.
This is the time of the year when the sun crosses over the equator headed back into the northern hemisphere.
Spring is also known as the vernal equinox. Vernal meaning spring and equinox meaning equal night. Day and night are about equal all over the world when the vernal equinox occurs.
It's the time of the year when the sun will begin to show up at an earlier hour and go down later as the spring nears.
With spring, the sunlight is warmer and the air is too. The air grows balmy, warm and damp. You may notice more breezes from the south. In many regions -- including ours -- there are tornadoes or other spring storms, including evening rain showers.
There will be more fluffy cumulus clouds and more sunshine -- so there will be more time to fish and knock a few golf balls when you get off work in the evening.
In this area, you might even see Canada geese or Sandhill Cranes flying toward the north.
Snow melting and turning to dirty slush proves that temperatures are rising and warmer days have arrived.
So dirty snow and mud puddles are also signs of spring as are sprouting crocuses as well as the appearance of robins and cardinals.
How are we really supposed to know when spring has arrived?
I guess my personal gauge is, whenever it is warm enough to comfortably fire up my outdoor grill, spring can't be far away.
But I'm hedging my bets. My heavy winter coat is still hanging on my coat rack ready for action, just in case southern Indiana tries to throw us all a weather curveball.
What spring signs do you look for near your home?
Have you seen any yet?
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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