There’s a fine line the winter temperature must walk for this porch to be comfortable with the sun shining brightly. Today’s temperature is flirting with the upper limits of that line. The temperature on the other side of the house is just now moving into the sixties, but here on the south side I’ve had to turn on the ceiling fans… So much for a cold front. The prognosticators are still predicting the thirties before the week is done.
There’s a pillated woodpecker announcing it’s presence in the remnant of woods along the bayou. One of the most primal sounds I have ever heard. Most of the yard appears to be filled with smaller birds though. The number of cheeps and chirps that I hear grows by the day. So, even though it looks more like spring, I guess winter is here for a while.
I used to drive by this site and not know the significance.
Good news! An amazing prairie remnant has been found in Deer Park. It is called the College Park Prairie, named after an adjacent elementary school. This is a 53-acre prairie pothole remnant with a full complement of pimple mounds and potholes. It supports an array of wildlife that includes pocket gophers, unusual and often elegant insects, grassland birds including Henslow’s, Le Conte’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, and nesting Eastern Meadowlarks and Loggerhead Shrikes.
Over the weekend the signs of spring began to reach out and shake my senses. Apple trees are breaking bud and sending forth blooms. This has been one of the first winters since we planted them that all of the leaves have been off the trees at one time. In past years we have had leaves on the apple trees all winter long. Most years I pick a couple of small apples that come from blooms set late in the fall.
The first azalea blooms have opened on the northeast side of the house. I see irises blooming in the bed out back. The springtime green of white clover is making mounds in the yard. The daytime highs have been in the 70’s for a the past two weeks, and have passed 80° on more than one occasion in the protected south side of the house.
The oak trees above the house are all showing that sheen of new leaves just breaking bud. The pecans though, are still holding bare wind burnished limbs to the sun. The same holds true for the white, smooth, barkless limbs of the sycamore trees in the woods out back.
The main weather pattern that has become almost constant in the past few years is the wind. It seems that we seldom have more than a few hours of respite from the constant wind off the Gulf. Between the wind and the drought that has covered our area, the burn pile of downed limbs each winter has become quite large.
“Everybody,” Muir said, “needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
Turns out they were ahead of their time. “Attention Restoration Theory” or ART, which posits that a walk in the woods helps refocus the mind and revive the spirit, has been a growing field of research for the past 20 years. New studies are quantifying the restorative powers of nature and suggesting how the restorative process works. 
It’s a practice that has been used for as long as recorded history. Religious orders from all over the world have used the the meditative walk in nature to focus the mind.
This is a line of research is one I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future…It’ll keep me taking myself outside and walking more often. After studying the papers listed in article, I headed out on my walking trail out back for an hours health break.
 Attention Restoration Theory Taps Nature’s Medicine | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. Miller-McCune..