Spring has always been my favorite season, both when we lived in Ohio and as a resident of California. Spring sits comfortably between the long, dreary days of winter and the sultry, lazy months of summer. It offers a pleasant mix of warming days and chilly nights, blue sunny skies and drenching downpours that wash away a variety of detritus.
When I was young the coming of spring heralded my longed-for escape from the tedious imprisonment of winter. In Beavercreek, Ohio where I lived until I was fourteen, snowplows seldom ventured into our rural neighborhood, making the gully-lined streets dangerous for pedestrians and cars. Winters were harsh and long-lasting. Hail, sleet, snow and infrequent, but deadly, ice storms blanketed our days. Waiting for the school bus to come in the early mornings required fortitude despite layers upon layers of protective gear.
When the temperatures finally changed from frosty to mild, the snows slowly disappeared. The browns of winter morphed into the lush colors of spring. Grasses and weeds put on their verdant coats, turning lawns into golf-course quality greens. Flowers pushed through the soil and then burst into song, filling the air with luscious scents. New life, the symbol of the season, declared its presence with trumpet blasts.
Spring signaled the ending of the school year. While I dreaded the humid days of summer, I hated school more. The tortures of squeezing my body into a snug-fitting desk were replaced with the freedom of running, climbing and exploring the woods behind our house.
All things that I loved came out of storage. Bicycles were hosed won, tires inflated, and chains oiled. Roller skate wheels were treated to a massage, gently rotating each to ensure proper movement. Kites popped out of newspapers and skinny boards, and when the wind was perfect, soared high into the sky.
Baseball equipment found its way into the backyard. Kiddie swimming pools were unfolded and inflated. Makeshift tents draped themselves over trailers, swing sets and clotheslines, begging to be occupied.
Energy oozed from every living thing and spoke about fun-filled days of constant movement. Spring was a time to reunite with friends who had been sequestered throughout the winter, playing long into the evenings.
That was in Ohio.
Since 1964 I have lived in California. Because of the mild temperatures of the San Francisco Bay Area, we live in a near-constant state of spring. Most evenings the fog rolls in, gifting us with pleasant nights for sleeping. Flowers bloom almost all year long, and when it rains, the rolling hills turn the most beautiful green imaginable.
Considering my love of the season, it’s not surprising that I got married in the spring. Considering the symbol of rebirth that spring stands for, I saw choosing that time of year as my opportunity to be reborn. I walked into the church as a single, then emerged as an equal part of a couple.
On our honeymoon we lounged in an old hotel in Marin, stayed in a tiny cabin at Clear Lake and camped in Yosemite National Park. The weather was perfect, blessing us with blue skies, mild temperatures and plenty of opportunities to bask in the newness of us.
Time did not stand still, so when those glorious days ended and we returned to what would become our normal lives, we did so with the magic of spring in our hearts. As husband and wife we donned our new hats, hoping that the joys of spring would bless us for many years to come.
While it is not yet officially spring, because of the lack of rain and unusually warm days, it feels as if it has arrived. As I look out my window I see bright blue skies with a trace of feathery clouds, powdery white blossoms on trees, and the green shoots of the bulb-flowers exploding out of the earth.
These are the days to relish being alive, when Nature blesses us with Her many gifts, reminders of all that She does to enrich our lives.