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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the calendar says it isn’t spring.

But, for much of the past week, temperatures have been hovering in the 50-60 degree range. Jonquils and daffodils are on the verge of bursting open. Large numbers of white pelicans were spotted on Crab Orchard Lake.

Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training nearly a month ago.

It just felt like spring.

Then, Sunday night the temperature plunged into single digits. Despite strong winds whipping lakes into a froth, the area’s major lakes were covered by a sheet of ice Monday morning. The light snow that coated the area glistened brightly in Monday’s bright sunshine.

Conditions were absolutely perfect for photographs of what we can all hope is winter’s last gasp.

A drive through Crab Orchard Lake on Monday morning produced some amazing sights, from Canada geese walking unsteadily on the thin veneer of ice, to towhees tossing snow-covered leaves in the air, to white-tailed deer hunkered down in the snow ... the world was just a beautiful place.

Here is a cross-section of some of Monday’s highlights.

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les.winkeler@thesouthern.com

618-351-5088

On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​

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