It's still winter in the marshes. Maybe that is an overstatement, but many of the wetland areas on Long Island Sound are a month behind their neighboring drier lands. This was very apparent when I visited the Ambro Wetlands Preserve which is tucked behind Crab Meadow Beach in the town of Huntington. While the trees along the road were in full bloom, they began to lose their green as I approached the marsh. In a sort of Wizard Of Oz moment, I was met by a brown landscape that had the appearance of early March, rather than the second week in April. Despite air temperatures of 70 degrees, the water temperature is still in the low 40's.
During my sophomore year in high school, one of the books assigned by my biology class was The Life And Death Of A Salt Marsh. Maybe I was too young, but the book had no impact on me. I am not even sure I finished reading it. This winter, I read it again and was completely consumed.
The chapters devoted to the seasons of a salt marsh were especially clear as I walked along the creek that winds its way towards Smithtown Bay. The low tide had exposed much of the marsh to the strong rays of sun that heated the landscape. But it would not last for long. Within a few hours, the rising tide would flood the grasses with 40 degree water, halting the spring progress for the day.
In some areas, the high water mark was visible from the heavy rains of the past month. Many of the areas I walked were most likely submerged for days during those storms. There was a line I could see where the green of April met the cold of March.
Spring will come to the salt marsh, but not so fast. As for me, I am thinking of reading the Great Gatsby and Moby Dick once again. I hear they are very good.
Wikipedia: Jerome Ambro