Honoring the Return of Spring
This issue of The Lebanon Times spans an interesting season here in the Upper Valley, covering February through April, the time when we transition from the cold and gray of winter to beginnings of the warmth and verdure of spring. It truly feels like a season of renewal: We’ve survived another winter of snow and below-freezing weather, and we’re possessed of a new, hopeful energy that only comes with this particular season.
Each person welcomes the spring in her own way. Me, I go outside as the snow melts and take “litter-picking walks,” collecting the trash suddenly so evident at the sides of the roads. Although I wish it didn’t have to be done, I feel good contributing a little something to the refreshing of the landscape – and getting outside into the fresh spring air after the long winter (when, admittedly, I probably spend a bit too much time sitting by the woodstove).
How do other Lebanon neighbors honor the arrival of spring?
“I welcome spring as I do every season, outdoors looking for signs of change on the landscape. Most of these signs occur gradually, but a few really punctuate the start of spring: the quacking of wood frogs, the return of red-winged blackbirds, the blooming of snowdrops, crocuses, and beaked hazelnut. There’s something new out there every day, and even the awakened blackflies are welcome – till they start biting, of course.”
“I do love spring. I grew up in Georgia where we didn’t have much of a winter, and I used to take spring for granted. But you earn it here, and there’s so much to appreciate about having made it through a long winter. The explosion of green that comes out is one of my favorite things. I almost appreciate it more than fall foliage, going from no color to so much color. My wife Kristen and I enjoy getting into a canoe or kayak when the ice breaks. It’s quiet, and it’s something we can do together at the same pace. We like to grab a picnic when we get a nice warm day and we can go hang out by a brook and sit in the sun. That’s like a rite of passage. We’re not bundled up in jackets. We can just enjoy warmth and see all that new growth.”
“By mid-April, the days are already getting warmer, but there is always one day when I just know that the warm weather is really on its way. On that day, I put up my storm windows and pull down the screens, in preparation for the summer ahead. From that day forward, I sleep with my bedroom window open, albeit under a pile of blankets, so that I can feel the air getting warmer, night by night. Each May (usually Mother’s Day weekend), my mom and I take a trip to Edgewater Farm to pick out flowers for our porches and decks, and I pick up vegetable plants for my garden. Once I get them home, I go to work planting my garden, repotting my plants, and making my deck into a plant jungle. When all my work is done, and I have blisters on my hands and dirt under my fingernails, I like to sit among my plants, sipping a glass of wine in the warm spring air, waiting for the first firebug to make its appearance.”
“I have a project that I look forward to every spring. Being a photographer, I love to go out in the fields and woods and capture those first moments of spring. The attached photo is an illustration. The very first crocus of Spring! Wow! Being out there with camera in hand lifts my spirits as I see everything coming back to life. Hope springs eternal as the saying goes. Also, just the smell of spring makes my spirits soar. It’s kind of spiritual!”
“I love spring! After the long winter here, I love noticing and photographing the first bulbs popping through the snow. I start planning my vegetable garden. I like to take walks on the sunny days. On rainy days I’ll start sorting through things and put stuff aside for a garage sale or a donation to the Listen thrift shop. This year I might be a little distracted – my son graduates from college this spring and my daughter from high school!”
“I look forward every year to the return of the wild ramps (wild leeks) and fiddleheads. These are the first gifts of spring from the earth, and they also remind us that usually by Mother’s Day we will find the first morel mushroom. We love when nature wakes up from its winter’s rest; it draws us out from our hibernation, awakened and refreshed!”