Since Spring in the Midwest is so-o-o slow coming this year, I dug out a previous Ode to Spring post to help it along.
Spring is sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The flowers is!
When I was a kid, Spring was my least favorite season. I loved Fall, followed in order of preference by Summer, Winter and finally Spring. In the Midwest, Spring was usually wet, rainy and muddy, which meant outdoor adventures were too often thwarted.
But a strange thing has happened. Now that I’ve gotten older, Spring has become my season of choice. Unfortunately, it seems to last for such a very short time in Illinois, followed suddenly by hot, humid weather. In fact, there is a saying that goes “Spring is the loveliest day of the year here.” Ha! I could almost be happy with spring-like weather most of the year, except for the fact that I do enjoy the change of seasons.
Photo by Amber Domke
Our winter seemed especially harsh and drawn out this year, so when it finally started to warm up, we reveled in the changes. Here are just three of the Spring Things we’ve been enjoying.
• FLOWERS – A Rose by Any Other Name . . .
I love to see the Spring flowers, such as daffodils, crocuses and tulips, but I never seem to get around to planting them in the Fall like I should. Maybe the problem is deciding which ones to buy and when/where to plant them.
One year when we lived in Wisconsin, Mom gave me a large package of tulip bulbs for my birthday in November. Now you’d think that would be the perfect time to plant, right? Well, it turned bitterly cold early that year, but I still wanted to get them into the ground. I dragged my 10-year-old son outside and we picked a spot on the south side of the house for planting.
Unfortunately, the ground had turned rock-hard as the temperature plummeted. No way could we break through the frozen crust with our shovels, so we finally brought out a pickaxe!
After working up a sweat taking turns with the big axe, we eventually had a shallow hole about the size of a dinner platter. My plan had been to plant a row all along the back of the house, but that was obviously not going to happen. As the wind picked up and it started to sleet, I made an Executive decision: we carefully positioned all the bulbs into the hole and covered them with frozen chunks of dirt as best we could.
Winter that year turned out to be one for the record books, with unusual cold and snow. When Spring poked its head out at last, we were amazed to see that the new tulips had not only survived, they had thrived! We had the most beautiful flower display imaginable. In fact, it looked like we had planned it that way all along.
If I had to pick just one favorite spring flower, I wouldn’t have to think about it for long. For me, the sunny little dandelions are the true harbinger of Spring. When I see that these resolute little wonders have returned to brighten up our world, I am thrilled. Now, if I could only convince my hubby that he doesn’t need to attack them like Attila the Hun!
• BIRDS – Our Fine Feathered Friends
We have a couple of Maple trees in our yard and were lucky enough to watch a yellow-bellied sapsucker again this year. (Yes, that really is its name. And you probably thought that was just an insulting phrase used in old Westerns on TV, right?)
Photo by Beth LaMie
The Sapsucker migrates North each year and spends up to a week in our part of the country. The picture above shows a replica of the bird and the horizontal holes they drill in the trunk of our favorite bird-watching tree. It was a real treat to sit outside and watch them get the sap running, then lap it up along with insects. We were surprised to see that squirrels also appreciated the fresh sap.
We also get a nice grouping of other birds, such as woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, finches and, of course, robins. Sometimes they visit our birdfeeders in harmony, while at other times they squabble and fight until the aggressor has chased the smaller birds away. Squirrels join the mix and delight us by hanging upside-down from the suet feeder, then pull themselves up to grab more tidbits from the wire cage. After all that work, they must develop some awesome abs. LOL
• TREES – Our Friends in the Forest
We had a few days of unseasonably warm weather, followed by much cooler days. The result was that many of the trees stated to show their buds but they didn’t mature fully for quite some time. As a result, we had a much more gradual display of Mother Nature that seemed to occur in slow motion. From one day to the next, we could actually see the slow but sure leafing out of the trees.
One of the benefits of such an unusual awakening is that we could more fully appreciate just a few varieties of trees at a time, instead of everything blossoming in a rush. One day might have a beautiful Magnolia tree in full bloom, while another was the purple plum and finally the apple trees. The steady progression of come into bud and bloom was especially enjoyable when it could be savored over many days.
So here’s the challenge:
What have you seen or experienced this Spring? Have you taken time to smell the roses, or at least dally with the dandelions? If not, it’s still not too late. Take a few minutes each day to renew your energy and your Joie de Vivre – that’s the Joy of Living and something that every one of us can enjoy.
Viva La Spring!