year there is no such rapture of beauty and of melody as here marks every morning from the last of April onward.
But days even earlier than these, in April, have a charm,—even days that seem raw and rainy, when the sky is dull and a bequest of March-wind lingers, chasing the squirrel from the tree and the children from the meadows.
There is a fascination in walking through these bare early woods,—there is such a pause of preparation, winter's work is so cleanly and thoroughly done.
Everythld is renewed by water.
The submerged creatures first feel the touch of spring, and many an equivocal career, beginning in the ponds and brooks, learns later to ignore this obscure beginning, and hops or flutters in the dusty daylight.
Early in March, before the first male cankermoth appears on the elm-tree, the whirlwig beetles have begun to play round the broken edges of the ice, and the caddis-worms to crawl beneath it; and soon come the water-skater (Gerris) and the water-boatman (Notonec
s for my ear the whole luxury of summer.
Later in the day, among the multiplicity of noises, the chirping becomes louder and more detached, losing that faint and dream-like thrill.
The bird-notes which have the most familiar fascination are perhaps simply those most intimately associated with other rural things.
This applies especially to the earliest spring songsters.
Listening to these delicious prophets upon some of those still and moist days which slip in between the rough winds of March, and fill our lives for a moment with anticipated delights, it seems as if their varied notes were sent to symbolize all the different elements of spring association.
The Bluebird appears to represent simply spring's faint, tremulous, liquid sweetness, the Song-Sparrow its changing pulsations of more positive and varied joy, and the Robin its cheery and superabundant vitality.
The later birds of the season, suggesting no such fine-drawn sensations, yet identify themselves with their chosen