“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” ~Mark Twain
I catch a ration of you-know-what every year when I say that fall starts on July 4th People say I’m negative when I point out the first turned birch leaf right about that time. But that is not the case. I am the eternal, vernal optimist. As Ground Hog Day approaches and without regard to what the rodent has to say about it, I start noticing the first signs of spring. They are out there, you know,
even now while I am dealing with the foot of snow we got last night on top of last week’s 27” and the pending 2-3 feet being predicted for next Wednesday. You just have to know where to look. My friend Kelly – she saw spring last night on the pub table after tennis when I passed out a few bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs. “They’re out all ready, I can’t believe it”. Mini eggs aren’t the harbinger of spring for me that they are for Kelly.
I think that the problem most people have in seeing the earliest signs of spring is that they are too preoccupied with the elephant in the room, all those overdone signs of winter.
I receive most of my subtle cues from nature. There are buds on the trees, my friends, if you peer through the enveloping ice; my black rabbit has gone berserk, cavorting through my bedsprings and dancing at all hours of the night, and my favorite sign – it was still light out at 5pm tonight. I had to double check my watch. There was even a hint of light up until 6pm on the horizon but that could have been halogen light and moon glow reflecting off the never ending snow. Even my writing is sounding more flowery though I sit here encumbered by a down vest and polar fleece knee highs. Soon, typically the first week of February, we will see the returning robins. Last year they came back a bit early, and if they’re in their right minds they’d stay south a bit longer this year, but I imagine they won’t be able to resist the allure of the wakening sap in the maples or the probing shoots beneath earth and snow. Even my husband senses spring; after a winter of roses and mums, he brought home tulips the other day. Spring is nudging its way back.
If I wanted to take my cues from the corporate world, those are available too.
Just got my W-2 and well that’s not needed until April 15 (definitely spring). And the Super Stop & Shop in Newburyport lived up to its name with sun umbrellas (you remember what sun is don’t you) and patio furniture, and herb plants to start indoors, and the Cadbury Mini Eggs.
Winter may appear to be tightening its grip on New England with all its bluster, but that’s only because it too senses that its days are numbered and the barely audible voice of spring is gathering force.
DON’T READ ANOTHER WORD IF YOU’RE SUPERSTITIOUS: The superstition my family attributes to robins is that when you see your first robin – if and only if it is on the wing, you will have a lucky year. If you see your first robin on the ground…well…sorry for you. In a couple of weeks the cryptic calls will be relayed quickly – “they’re baaack.” So starting mid January I steadfastly refuse to look down resulting in many an unpursued claim of ice induced slip and fall.
© 2011 Alison Colby-Campbell