Sunday, March 20, 2022
A little birdie told me it’s spring.
Actually, a little birdie told me whaaahhr whaaahhr whaaahhr because we have a lot of mockingbirds here and they have very effectively learned to sound like car alarms.
But since it’s spring, it seemed like as good a word as any for the day, especially as I have been looking forward to it for all of not-spring.
I used to not like spring. Weird, right? It was only saved from being my least favorite season by virtue of the fact that winter exists.
So why would a person not like spring?
I used to not like the unborn, unformed nature of it. There weren’t really flowers and trees, there was just the expectation of them.
Summer is… summer. It is my favorite season for many reasons, like hot sun and boardwalks and ice cream, but we’ll save that for the summer post.
Fall is beautiful. Also you may make fun of pumpkin-spice-everything but it’s delicious, so it can stay.
I can’t say enough things about how much I dislike winter, but mostly how much I dislike cold.
Spring is just….. meh. It’s more of an idea than a season. A hope for something but not the actual something.
Also the weather.
Spring is cold. And damp, oh my god so damp and humid. Cold and humid. Two things that are not delicious and have to go. You get this feeling like any day now the weather is going to be nice, but it really never is, until one day it’s hot.
You don’t really get spring.
You just wait and wait and wait for this thing called spring but really all you get is more March.
Then April, which is March II.
Anyway, at some point I got over that and decided spring wasn’t so bad. Now I look forward to spring as the precursor to summer, sort of like how Thursday is a pretty good day because you know tomorrow is Friday.
When spring actually happens, I enjoy the blossoming trees. The white and pink ones that last for about five minutes but are spectacular while they do. When you can catch a glimpse of these trees, it’s like watching a black and white TV show that suddenly goes Technicolor. Like when you watch the Wizard of Oz and Kansas gets tornadoed away and you land in the rainbow world of Oz.
Then one day you are in spring heaven and the next there is some kind of freak snowstorm or maybe an actual tornado and all those flowers are in a carpet on the ground.
But they’re worth worshipping while you can.
Spring happens very suddenly. One day everything is brown and branch-y and the next minute there is an explosion of green. It’s a different green than summer, though. It’s lighter, brighter, fresher, newer. By summer, green is like, I got this. But in spring, it’s tentative, just peeking out and seeing how things feel. You catch it in little glimpses, some tiny dots of green on the ends of branches, a few spikes of green squinting up from the ground.
Spring is on the verge.
Then it happens like a surprise party and BOOM all the confetti gets popped and there are tulips, and daffodils, and cascades of forsythia, and crocus where nobody planted crocus but they want to get in on the action so they just start growing wherever you’ll let them.
Then this happens in spring and I can’t EVEN with the cuteness.
Not that a date on the calendar makes it spring in practice. But it’s the thought that counts.
The first day of spring is the vernal equinox, when the earth is neither tilted toward nor away from the sun. The sun’s rays shine directly on the equator which means the length of day and night are the same. But what I didn’t know is that there is also a meteorological spring, which starts on March 1st. It is apparently the three month bucket between the three hottest and three coldest months of the years.
There is a tale that says on the equinox you can stand an egg on its end because of science-y reasons about the pull of gravity and the equal distance of etc. I tried it, and it’s true.
It is also true that you can stand an egg on its end not on the equinox. I tried that, too.
But I still believed it as a kid and twice a year I would stand an egg on its end, until one day I did it three times a year and blew my own mind.
Spring means more growing things at the Farmers Market. It means strawberries are right around the corner, and mint, and dill. I grew dill last year for the first time ever. It’s really quite beautiful. When it goes to seed you get these pinwheels of tiny flowers. I actually still have one from last year that I dried and put in a jar.
This spring in particular should be significant insofar as we are making substantial changes to our lives. It’s like a whole rebirth theme for us, too. We are in the dill of our lives.
The etymology of spring goes back to Old English, meaning to leap, burst, fly forth. Later it meant to announce suddenly. The season is true to its roots.
Right now there are a few telltale signs of spring. The pink-and-white tree-clouds are blooming. There’s an absurd amount of leafy greens at the Farmers Market. You can’t spend a Monday without six hours of Guy With Weed Wacker doing something resembling gardening and the minute you walk outside you are punched in the face with manure mulch smell. It’s that awkward phase between cute baby spring and young spring.
But things are greening. They’re feeling hopeful, anticipatory. The dill is getting ready to dill and the mint is getting ready to be in my cocktails. I think, quite possibly, that spring has moved up in my book to second favorite season. It’s hard not to love a season that comes with baby birds and strawberries.
Photo: a little bit of spring greenery seen on a March walk a few years ago, with a stone that seems to be saying “I love spring.”