Spring is Coming!

I have lived in the northern part of the northern hemisphere my entire life, including 15 cherished years in Duluth, MN where snow can arrive as early as October and leave as late as May. So, I know the length and breadth of winter—and, I do not think I have ever been so eager for spring as I am this year. After a year of Covid winter, I am ready for some thawing, some blooming, and for sure, more joy!

It has been a very long year for everyone. There has been much suffering, ambiguity, frustration, adjustment, upheaval, and insecurity. Yikes! We have had no visitors inside our home. Our tiny, socially distanced gatherings occur under the patio heater on our porch on days with little wind or rain. We still walk hiking trails here with masks on. All of my family connections, friendly outreach and community meetings have turned to ZOOM. We last saw our daughter, her partner, and the grandchildren in October 2019. And I know these stresses are small in the scheme of things. We who are the middle class retired have been inconvenienced, but not bearing the brunt of disruption. We have stood by to assist others as best we can. We have a home, heat, enough to eat, relative health, love. AND— I am ready for some opening up!

Tea on the porch under the patio heater with neighbors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can I tell? Well, my moods are as variable as spring weather. Valentine’s weekend we had snow at our house, a rare sea level occurrence. I got to ski down our street and make a snowman! It was great fun.

Ann skiing down the gravel road in front of her house

Ann making a snowman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then in perfect Seattle snowstorm fashion, it all promptly melted in three days and the inexorable, erratic march of spring returned. Immediately, I was out in the garden turning over the winter cover crop. I walked over to our neighboring farm to get my garden seeds. The next day the sun came out and I got so excited I nearly planted grass seed in the thin spots in our front patio yard until I read the package which instructed me, “Seed when the air temperature is 60 degrees F.(15.5 degrees C.)” More waiting!

3 days later turning over the winter cover crop in the garden

Neighboring Deep Harvest farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I laughed out loud at myself. Geez, it IS only February, and the temperature has not even gotten up to 50 degrees F yet (10 degrees C.)! So, I restrained my optimistic impulses and strolled around the yard appreciating all of the blooming plants that came through the snowstorm in great beauty: Hellebores, heather, and Pieris. I do feel lucky to live here.

Blooming Hellebore in our February backyard

Blooming heather in our February front yard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of days later I was walking with our puppy on our favorite trail in the state park. “Oh, my gosh!” I exclaimed aloud to little Vivi. “It is the first salmonberry flower in our park! Spring IS coming!” My steps on the muddy trails became ever lighter.

Salmonberry bud about to burst. Once they do, the incorrigible rufous hummingbirds arrive from their long migration to begin their incredible summer lives in the NW.

 

 

And yesterday we got our second COVID vaccination. It does feel like slowly, slowly the door of possibilities is beginning to open. My daughter and I immediately made plans for the grandkids to come up for spring break. I was so happy that I cried. Yes, we still have to be very careful—need to get COVID tests, need to fly with cautious protocols, need to keep masking up in public. But spring is coming. Warmth. Possibility. Hope.

Decades ago, I worked as a newspaper reporter in northern Utah. I was the cub reporter. One of the more seasoned reporters I looked up to very much, Jim Godbold, said he heard I was from Minnesota. He then proceeded to tell me the story of his year working at the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. “Coldest, most miserable year of my life,” he said. “But when spring came I was more creative than I have ever been. There was such a release of my energy as things began to thaw. I couldn’t believe it. Haven’t experienced it since, but I never forgot that feeling.”

That is exactly how I am feeling at this moment. Spring IS coming. (Honestly, to my Minnesota and Canadian friends, it WILL come.) The Earth’s signals do not lie. They may taunt us, but they do not go away. Lighter weight jackets can come out of the closet. Mittens and scarves will soon go into storage. Masks will still be with us for a long time. But somehow the necessary changes we face no longer feel as daunting.

In 1732 the English poet, Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” That’s me. I wish he was around this spring, I’d give him a high-five and a hug. Masked, of course.

 

 

 

 

34 replies
  1. Cynthia Trowbridge
    Cynthia Trowbridge says:

    I enjoyed spring thru fall because as an opportunity to become more intimate with every thing right outside my window and outside my door, all happening on this plot of land on a hill on this Island . I could actually observe the changes that occurred each day. Truly and deeply in place in my hearts home.
    Having got our frequently cancelled 1st vaccination yesterday, I wait impatiently for our second shots so we can have time with our young grandchildren. Ready for warmer weather and meeting outside again to sing and dance together and hopefully run into the two of you, dear ones.

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Yes, may we meander onto one another’s paths. You bring forth such an important truth from these times at home—the greater knowing of place. May it guide us well in the future.

      Reply
  2. Julie Glover
    Julie Glover says:

    Spring is sprung, the grass is ris’! I wonder where the flowers is?
    Love to you dear sister… I too CAN’T WAIT FOR SPRING!!!!!!!
    XO :oD

    Reply
  3. Laura Collins
    Laura Collins says:

    Those small signs of hope are what always kept me going through the PNW winter.

    Living now where citrus trees are full of colorful fruit beginning in December, and almond blossoms turn the hillsides pink in January has been a gift for me. But you remind me of the incredible hope of early daffodils and even smaller signs of spring that I used to cling to during the grey PNW winters.

    Spring is indeed coming, and with it a visit from your beautiful grandkids. I’m so happy for you.

    Reply
  4. Bonnie Rae
    Bonnie Rae says:

    I can’t remember a spring that I have looked forward to more. I rise every morning eager for my walk to discover new signs: buds quietly appearing on trees, songbirds returning, activity in the nests of my favorite raptors. I’m so grateful to hear of vaccinations. I’m still awaiting my first but it feels so hopeful to consider a new openness. Stay well. Thank you for sharing your joy. 

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      My spirit joins you on those daily walks. When little Vivi and I walk each day, she teaches me so much about curiosity, openness, and awareness. It is impossible for a puppy to forget those things. She is helping me to remember.

      Reply
  5. Glenda Goodrich
    Glenda Goodrich says:

    Thank you for this lovely reminder Ann. I’m totally with you! My SoulCollage(r) offering this month is titled “Hope Springs Eternal,” a celebration of the season. Blessings to all the little seeds who are getting ready to sprout and the flowers that will bloom. xo

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Yes, the steadfastness of the growing ones is a source of much inspiration any time of the year, but most especially in the cold soils of early spring.

      Reply
  6. Katharine Weinmann
    Katharine Weinmann says:

    I can feel your enthusiastic optimism with every word and photo, Ann. Earlier this week I say a magpie fly with a twig as long as his wingspan, land in a bare limbed tree to suss out a possibility and then fly across to the more camouflaged spruce to nest build!?! And while the temperatures dove to 20 below today, it’s just a blip. The day is lengthening as the sun rises higher in the sky, giving warmth even in the cold. Yes, it comes. Much love, and gratitude for your assurances!

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Yes, to the lengthening days—truly the strongest, earliest sign of spring in the “far” north. With appreciation for your comments,
      Ann

      Reply
  7. Gretchen Staebler
    Gretchen Staebler says:

    Lovely, dear Ann. Ah spring. With all it’s work on these four acres, but also warmth and bloom. Hope. My second vaccination tomorrow. I’m hoping to go to NC to see my older grands this summer; or meet them somewhere. Like you, I haven’t seen them since October 2019. And, I can see you and Christina sooner than that! 💜

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Dear Writer Friend, May you get to see those NC grands! The older ones need your wisdom, just as the younger ones do! Ann

      Reply
  8. Joann Gadbaw
    Joann Gadbaw says:

    Wonderful writing Ann – I live in Michigan and the snow is finally melting and I have not had to shovel in a week. Can’t wait for the snow drops to make themselves known when the right time comes…

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      I predict you will be seeing snow drops very soon and that they will delight you, as ever! Lovely to hear your voice, Joann.

      Reply
  9. James Wells
    James Wells says:

    Just to read this is refreshing, Ann. Yesterday, March 1, a Spring wind blew through Toronto and sang in the Valley on whose bank I live. Aaah…I join your celebration.

    Reply
  10. Rose Hood
    Rose Hood says:

    Always love reading your reflections, thoughts, adventures and ever present wisdom! Thank you for sharing. Continue to treasure my memories of times spent with you & Christina!

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Dear Rose, So good to hear your voice. We, too, remember that training fondly. Such a strong group of women! Ann

      Reply
  11. Floralyn Groff
    Floralyn Groff says:

    Thank-you for sharing this summary that is all too familiar and parallel to my own experience. You and Christina have been on my mind as I have been writing a piece about “Women and the Planet” first backpacking trip that we experienced together in the Rincon mountains near Tucson. I actually have a picture of the three of us right here at my computer. That was in 1994. Are you still doing that?

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Dear Flory,
      Terrific to hear from you after such a long time! No, we are no longer doing that trip. Our remaining outdoor adventure is Cascadia Quest—a combination of group council time, ceremony, and hiking and a 3 day solo camping time for participants. Getting into our mid-70s now, so the activities have to match our stamina! Trust all is well with you and yours,
      Ann

      Reply

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