Spring is now one week old and in its young life, has given us a serving or two of several of the weathers in its pantry.
But that’s March for you … being greedy, or shunning some of its offerings seems to inspire spring’s natal month to tempt us with dessert then suddenly pile on another glop of spinach or Brussels sprouts!
But let’s not dwell on the cutting winds, the hail, or the s-word. Cast your mind back to that Monday, March 18, when spring pulled out all the stops and gave us the wide screen, Vistavision preview of what we expect from the vernal equinox. And not just vistas, either, but sights garnished with a full platter of sound and scents to restore our deprived senses.
A good long walk with the hound on that Monday in question renewed my faith in the ultimate coming of spring. Last year’s dry brown leaves were being literally lifted from the ground by impatient spears of grass, weeds, and soon-to-be wild flowers.
If the burgeoning plants couldn’t find a way around last fall’s compost, they simply applied more pressure and drilled their way through. It was a day to hear the grass grow.
Alongside the trail, a river in a hurry collecting its share of melting winter, was singing its spring song of turbulence. The occasional croak and gurgle of an acrobatic raven provided a bass accompaniment to chirping robins and trilling red-winged blackbirds.
Close by the river where roots could be sure of the warmer season’s moisture, the occasional cottonwood let loose its pungent fragrance from sticky, swelling buds. This was the smell that tweaked the olfactory sense into remembering the very first springs in my memory when the sagging ice of the lake meant walking the roundabout, boggy trail to town. That idyllic day and its walk could not go on forever of course, but home again, spring was still busy working its way toward its official day on the calendar.
And the sun shone on. I’m sure it’s the return of the sun with its friendlier angles of light and its increasing presence in our days that really puts spring in our hearts … not to mention in our steps.
At the east-facing kitchen window over my sink I could easily forgive the sun for glaring into my eyes. After mornings of dark and dullness, I could not bring myself to lower the shade against that golden light; squint a bit and carry on; let the sunshine in!
But ole Sol is not too selective about where it casts its widening rays. A glance above the range top I’d been wiping down exposed a wall with not a few spatters of grease — invisible until now without that sneaky spotlight.
A welcome folding into a fireside chair with my book of the moment was almost immediately interrupted when my eyes followed a path of sunshine beneath my desk across the room.
Had I actually been that careless with winter vacuuming chores that those nests of wires, plugs, and surge protectors had enveloped themselves in a grey cocoon. Did the sun think I was bowing in obeisance to its extended finger as I directed the Dustbuster on bended knee?
On recent days when a few hours of sunshine would warm the sunroom to cozy temperatures, I could shut down any other sources of heat, slide back the family room door, and let that original heater do the job. And opening that door to a room with unpainted cedar siding was like walking into a summer cottage. Here was a room where the sun and the wood combined to bottle the most nostalgic scent in the world.
There’s no doubt that spring is a fickle season, but when it does bring light to our days, let that sunshine in!
— Nancy Whelan is a regular columnist