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Awakening in Springtime

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Change is in the air. The sky is brighter, bluer, and less gray most days. The sunshine that was just out of sight behind the cloud cover over the past few months brightens our region again. The energy of Spring is fresh and new, it tinges my existence with the cheerful optimism of change for the better. The warm days beckon me to come outdoors, go walking, explore the yard, and see what's new, what's emerging today.

Swarms of blackbirds soar together, landing high in the treetops that blanket the neighborhood, chattering noisily about how good it feels to be back together again. Fat robins hop along the ground and up on the fence looking for a hideaway where it would be safe to build a nest. These sightings are a sure sign of Spring here.

blooms of crocus in springtime
First bloom of Spring, crocus

Crocus and snowdrops make me smile as they poke their fresh blooms up through the soil at the edge of the front path, magically transforming the blandness of the leftover winter, peeking up to brighten my spirit with the promise of new growth and the warmth of Springtime. It's always a sweet surprise! I'm encouraged by the green leaves emerging from tulip bulbs deep in the darkness beneath the soil, trusting they'll be in full bloom in just a few weeks. They'll keep growing toward the light with their sustainable memory tucked inside, a reminder of the natural, consistent change that comes this time every year.

It's comforting to walk outdoors in the warm sunshine and to hear the familiar chorus of birdsongs that have been absent for so long. Hearing that brings me back to memories of Springtimes past, when I was a child and life was simpler, and from when I'd go out discovering the wonders of Spring with my own kids when they were youngsters. Some things never change. A new generation of birds is here now, but their sweet song still rings true to my memories.

I walk a few blocks in my suburban neighborhood, seeing how things have changed since our last warm season when I got out for walks more. Tree branches, still barren, hang patiently until the March winds blow strong and get them waving to each other. Pretty soon the buds will form and burst into green leaves, right on schedule. The lawns are green intermixed with some brown spots that look more like straw, but will be transformed by the sunlight and Spring rains into a brilliant emerald green carpet of freshness, soon followed by a vibrant crop of yellow dandelions in time for a Mother's Day bouquet. Looking around, I see dried-out stalks and mounds of brown foliage of perennials that will be used by expectant birds to build their nests. Sand and salt line the edges of our roads, remnants of the few times we needed the services of our town plows to push new snowfall off the roads to make them passable and less slippery. Scattered around are small piles of snow still slowly melting near the end of some of the driveways, the ones that had a snowplow service that pushed it all into the same place. Water runs off the melting piles and streams down to the gutter and into storm drains at the corners of the streets, a sign of forward movement. Water that's no longer frozen in time because the frigid air hampered its freedom to flow. I'm still mystified that water can freeze before it drips to the ground! We can't see the cold air but can feel its invisible essence, and see its effects on other things. Hearing the movement of water in the storm drains brought me back to a time when my daughter was about three years old, and we went for lots of walks around the neighborhood. One Spring she was fascinated by the storm drains, so for a few weeks we had to check each and every drain on our block to see if it had water in it, crisscrossing the road when she spotted another drain. Simple things that adults overlook can be important to a child on their journey of discovery.

Springtime can come in fits and starts, taking one step forward, then two steps back. There are variations in temperature here that can fluctuate wildly from week to week, and even in the course of just one day. So we have a need for more storage space in our homes, because of the need for stacking and storage of clothing and bedding of different weights, to be brought out and used depending on the season.

I have an old cedar chest that my paternal grandmother gave me - a "hope chest" as she called it. I store blankets and quilts in it and can still see where one of her cocker spaniels had chewed on one of its feet. I remember where she had it in her house, near the green rocker that she always sat in to do knitting, crossword puzzles, and watch Truth or Consequences on tv. She died when I was fifteen but for a few years before that, I went to her house every weekend to clean for her, mop the floors, do the dishes, water her many African violet plants that were on every windowsill, and secretly stuff peanut M&Ms into my mouth when she wasn't looking. She kept a jar full of them on top of the dining room cabinet. Grandma lived alone with her dogs and we enjoyed swapping stories. Mine were mostly about school and current events, hers were mostly memories. I found out that a cousin of hers from Europe had a ticket for the Titanic but didn't go at the last minute due to illness. And that she had a twin sister, and they ended up marrying twin brothers! And she did have twin daughters herself. Grandma would knit me socks, hats, sweaters, and afghans in a zig-zag pattern of varying shades of blues, greens, or earth tones, because I needed them for warmth during the long cold season, and it gave her something to do.

A noisy swarm of birds startles me back to reality as I walk along, amazed at how many of them, what looks like hundreds, can join together in a group high on the treetops of my quiet neighborhood. They're in touch with the rhythm of Nature, and it's time for their meeting, right here, right now. And so this is how Spring begins again, moving us forward, people, animals, and plants, getting a fresh start, one more time. I welcome the new beginnings of my favorite season.

"A flower blossoms for its own joy." - Oscar Wilde

Written by Janet Polech


Words of Wellness Blog

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