Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Winter’s grip loosens

March 03, 2010 at 09:43 AM

February was a long month. Some ice fishing. But lots of cold. And ice. And snow. And even work.

For all those reasons, the arrival of March has been a blessing.

For the past few days, to walk into work has been to pass a symphony of bird sounds. Songbirds are calling everywhere. And overhead, flocks of geese are headed north. Even at night. As the oldest boy and I walked home from a meeting last night I could hear snow geese passing overhead in the dark, loud enough to be heard over the sounds of a passing train and the usual street sounds.

The critters are letting us know that winter’s grip is loosening.

These are wonderful signs. This is a wonderful time of year.

Somehow all the hope out there made me think of Phil Connors and one of my favorite films, Groundhog Day. As Phil noted:

“When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.”

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