Rite of spring

Each year, at some point in February, I begin to look for the first signs of spring. By this time in the year, I’m really yearning for a change of season, so almost anything seems like a good sign. If it feels a little warmer one day and I see snow melting, I think, “Spring is on the way!” Even if the groundhog sees his shadow and predicts six more weeks of winter, I think, “Yeah. In Pennsylvania, maybe…”

But I’m happy to report that over the past few weeks I’ve actually seen some definitive signs of spring, which means the change of season must be coming soon.

First, shops everywhere are buying and selling tulips, which means it must be spring somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Tulips turn out to be my favorite flower (with the possible exception of calla lilies, which are just ridiculously expensive), so in my book, their return to flower shop shelves may be termed a Good Thing.

On a related note, the deli across the street from my apartment (Savenor’s, where Julia Child shopped when she lived in Cambridge) was selling little bunches of daffodils when I was doing my weekly shopping yesterday. For $3.99, I couldn’t say no. (Let’s not kid ourselves; I probably would have paid $13.99 just to have a little breath of spring in the room.) I put them in water overnight and by this morning they had opened up beautifully, ready to greet me and reassure me that spring is not far off.

On a walk last week, I saw a robin, which I think is still recognized by most people as the first official sign of spring. (In telling this story to a friend recently, he asked if the robin I saw was alive. I couldn’t decide whether this was in poor taste or so hilarious that I had to share it with the world, but I’ve evidently settled on the latter.) The robin was in fact very much alive, hopping around and pecking in the dirt the way robins do.

If you don’t believe me, I have another eyewitness who will back me up. The robins are coming.

Finally, in what was perhaps the most encouraging sign of all, I recently discovered a blooming forsythia bush. Lovely as they are, even tulips in the hand are not worth bloom in a bush. (Okay, okay…) Seriously, though, the forsythia is usually the first plant to bloom in the spring, and catching a glimpse of its bright yellow-green tendrils near the end of February is definitely a Big Deal. It means that there’s no going back. It means that pretty soon, spring is going to be popping out everywhere and winter will be in retreat.

We’re always told that a watched pot never boils, but I’ve been watching and waiting for spring to… spring. And contrary to the old adage, it seems that by watching and waiting, I’ve found just what I’m looking for.

(Which is something I might say about more than the change of seasons…)

Happy almost-spring, everyone!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Rite of spring

  1. Andrea

    You’re seeing more signs than I am… so thanks for sharing! I think it’s time for me to start actively looking… although it’s hard to get past the snow. I did realize the other day there were birds chirping, so that’s a start!

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