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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Wonderful, dear Ann❤️
Of all my readers, I am guessing you are the only one who knows Jim Godbold! Such a news room we had!
Thanks, Ann! Waiting for the warming soil in the woods to be able to dig and start planting! Yes, it will come!
Indeed, it will, Karl! Also, can’t wait for another one of those fine evening bonfires.
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.
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.
Sharing a lotto your feelings – Viva Spring! – and springing forward!
Thank you, Suzanne! Hoping to see you around the island some time in the not so distant future.
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!!!!!!!
And I bet you, too, have been out in the yard puttering and watching it wake up!
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.
Thank you, Laura. Wonderful to “see” those images from your current homeland. Be well!
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.
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.
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
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.
Thank you! As I read, I hope!
Ah, Melissa, that was exactly my intention. Be well!
Hi Ann, I definitely enjoyed your writing of hope and those beautiful pictures of Spring!
You are most welcome!
Hey, Anne – wish we could see you “somewhere on the island” this Spring!
Dear Bonnie, We wish that, too. Meanwhile, hold onto your Minnesota socks—spring will come in great glory this year!
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!
Yes, to the lengthening days—truly the strongest, earliest sign of spring in the “far” north. With appreciation for your comments,
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! 💜
Dear Writer Friend, May you get to see those NC grands! The older ones need your wisdom, just as the younger ones do! Ann
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…
I predict you will be seeing snow drops very soon and that they will delight you, as ever! Lovely to hear your voice, Joann.
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.
Oh, James, delighted to hear your voice on the page, my northern friend. Be well, Ann
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!
Dear Rose, So good to hear your voice. We, too, remember that training fondly. Such a strong group of women! Ann
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?
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,