Searching for Spring

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Parents and Kids magazine asked me to write on this subject for their publication a few years ago. It gave me a chance to reflect on the central MS area's evidences of spring, but look around and you'll find the same sorts of joys in your own area.

The sunlight changes as the days lengthen, and you feel gentler breezes blowing in warmer now, from the south. Lost and found closets fill with sweaters shed midday and left at school. Toddlers cannot be kept in shoes even with double knotted laces. Is it really Spring yet? All of us want to confirm what the calendar and our bones tell us: no more Mr. Jack Frost. 

Spring delivers baby animals as the world greens up and renews itself yet again.  Maybe you’ll see baby chicks on parade at the Ag Museum or more exotic newborns debuting at the Jackson Zoo. Or take a drive out from the city to catch calves and lambs nursing in the fields along the highways. Find the season’s wildflowers along the path at Lafleur’s Bluff and take your camera to Mynelle Gardens while the azaleas are in bloom to record your family’s visit.

Pecan trees just won’t send out their new growth until there’s no more chance of frost. They know when it’s time to grow, and so do people. On spring Saturdays you see more neighbors at the garden center than the grocery store. Then the people who moved in down the street during the winter fire up their gas grill and new friendships are forged along with the burgers. The aroma of barbeque means spring as surely as smell of chlorine means it’s finally warm enough to swim.

Find signs of spring right in your own backyard. Turn over a board or a brick that’s been laying in the dirt. Look for roly-polys, sowbugs (same color but don’t roll up), snails, and an earthworm or two. These critters work your dirt and are an important part of the healthy ecosystem. You can find buttercups and spiderwort, white clover and pink oxalis out there; whether they’re weeds or wildflowers remains a matter of personal taste. Put up a feeder filled with thistle seed to attract spring’s black and gold gang, the Goldfinches. Add some orange slices and you’ll welcome fruit-loving Orioles. They’re looking to nest, because it’s Spring. 

Take off your socks, let those legs and arms see the light of day, and get in the habit of wearing sunscreen again. It’s Spring!

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