Tuesday, April 23, 2013

And Then There Was Spring

The snow boots have been banished to the attic.  If I have to lug them back downstairs before November, I will require liberal amounts of consolation.  Fortunately, Easter delivered a blizzard of my favorite emotional sedative, chocolate.  A lone surviving Hershey’s bunny sits perched atop the fridge, his milky brown eyes keeping a keen watch out the window.  He knows the heavy price he will pay for an April snowfall.   

Most years, I battle my children in the First Day of Spring debate.  Like clockwork, one of them pops off the bus in mid March, triumphantly enters the house and proclaims the arrival of (insert trumpeters trumpeting) The First Day of Spring.  Some years, they trudge through nine inches of snow to make said proclamation, and sometimes they skip in wearing flip-flops.   The United States Department of Education has trained them to believe that Spring begins every year at the same time. 

I do my best to unlearn them of this fallacy.  Calendars do nothing to help my plight.  They mark it in as reliably as Memorial Day.  I was shocked to discover that even the Farmer’s Almanac acknowledges this title.  Look, I bear no ill will toward this holiday in general, just its nomenclature.  The day in question is known as the Vernal Equinox.  It is the half-year observance of equal day and night.  I welcome it with open arms. 

Winter bears several charms that I look forward to each year, but short nights isn’t one of them.  As Fall closes up shop, I feel the night closing in, like a python tightening its grip.  Instead of riding bikes and playing with the neighbors, my kids are cooped up indoors, squabbling over petty arguments.  Their eyes become glued to the unnatural glow emitting from electronic screens throughout the house.  My beloved after-dinner walk in the sunset necessitates fluorescent clothing and flashlights.  The occasional seven o’clock jaunt to the grocery store involves a dip into the seamy underworld of dimly lit parking lots.  Clearly, the Vernal Equinox bears nothing but good tidings for these cabin feverish eyes of mine. 

But it isn’t the First Day of Spring.

Spring doesn’t come on a day.  It isn’t like Aunt Sally, who makes travel arrangements and arrives at your doorstep on schedule.  Nor is it a holiday, such as Labor Day, here today and gone tomorrow.  Spring is an essence. 
A Hint of Spring: Unfurling Columbine Foliage

It comes in whispers with the first 40-degree day and muddy paw-prints on the floor.  Then it hints a little more boldly, as Robins begin plucking at worms and lilac buds swell.  Finally it tears through with lighting blasts, storm clouds thundering away at the retreating winter.  There is no guaranteed formula, as we learned so cruelly last year.  Spring has a mind all its own.  The best we can do is watch for the signs, collecting them like lucky pennies.  

A few weeks ago, my youngest came and tugged on my hand.  “Mom, you’ve GOT to see this!”  With three children, I hear this statement an average of four times a week.  It usually leads to the forcible viewing of a commercial touting a neon-colored piece of plastic or bottle of goo for the low, low price of $19.99 (shipping and handling not included).  So without turning my head, or even tuning in consciously, I replied, “Can you just tell me what it is, honey?”  “Nope, you’ve gotta SEE it for yourself!”  And then, with a conspiratorial smile, she whispered, “It’s a sign of Spring!” 

My heart melted.  A fellow convert!  I grabbed her hand and we headed off to admire some fresh tulip foliage.  Spring was dropping hints.


Casa Mariposa said...

You're back! You're back! I was thinking this weekend that I might need to email you for a kick start! Woo-hoo!! Love the writing, as usual. Spring is a sneaky minx, isn't she?

Design to Grow said...

Tammy, you are an amazing encourager! How you find time to keep up with all your writing, gardening, teaching and reading fellow bloggers, I'll never know. You're an Energizer Bunny. And I'm sure blessed to know you. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your Columbine picture! I was trying to discover what "mystery" plant I had put in the garden and forgot to label. ZE COLUMBINE! Mystery solved!

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