Do you like spring? Have spring rituals? Engage in treasured activities or events? Take off your clothes and expose your white winter skin to the first warming rays of the sun?
If you just reread this last question and are now worried about getting subjected to my exhibitionist tendencies, fear not—they are nonexistent. But apparently this shedding of garments is a vernal custom some individuals engage in, as I recently learned from fellow birders. They were very surprised when the view through their binoculars revealed some 22 square feet of bare human dermis!
But nudity is not the reason spring has always been my favorite season, even if the sun’s caresses one one’s skin contribute to one’s well-being. Each year, the lengthening days, reawakening flora, and returning migratory birds are highly anticipated and warmly welcomed by my winter-weary psyche. In the depth of December I have trouble imagining that the trees will ever wear a green coat again, yet every April and May the miracle of seemingly lifeless branches sprouting buds, which unfurl into leaves, repeats itself. Shrubs and trees don colorful, fragrant blossoms, and verdant shoots push through the soil and morph into beautiful shapes and colors.
The woodlands are transformed into echo chambers by myriad tweeting and twittering voices, house wrens among them. Small in size, they compensate with large voice and character and never fail to entertain with their engaging and energetic ways. Once I hear and see my first one, I know that spring migration is really underway. More joy is brought by animal babies. Our neighborhood rabbits start their family planning early in the year and by March or April, their offspring are already out on their own. We didn’t see one this year until it was already a couple of weeks old, based on previous encounters with days-old bunnies (click here to read about the “bunny rescue” we had to engage in before covering the openings to our window wells). Near local ponds, geese similarly begin their broods promptly when conditions are favorable so that little goslings usually show off their downy cuteness by April.
Nature’s cycles, altered as they might be, never grow old, or fail to bring cheer, comfort, and a sense of hope, and it is in this spirit that I’m sharing some of this spring’s firsts.
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