This time of year I can often be heard saying, “You can’t appreciate spring until you’ve been through winter.” By “you” I mean me of course. I lived in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years and I missed spring there dreadfully because winter was nothing more than pages on a calendar. On my walk this morning, there was no doubt that spring had arrived.
Spring is my favorite season. It is renewal, of course. New leaves on the trees, a kind of new beginning. The new year used to be the first day of spring. I think it still should be. At least then it would bear some relation to astronomical events. Spring means baseball and baseball means spring. My birthday falls shortly after the spring equinox. I used to begin my annual re-reading of Isaac Asimov’s autobiographies in the spring, always attempting to finish on April 6, the day he died.
Summer is nice when you are still young. Summer means a break from school and, at least until I was 16, it meant no work. Summers today are hot and humid and there is no “summer break” for me as a grownup. Retirement is now closer than the beginning of my working career, and the think I like to imagine best about it is waking up in summer and not having to do anything. The last time that happened I was fifteen.
Fall is a close second to spring in my book. But fall is less optimistic than spring. The days grow rapidly shorter. The air gets cooler and instead of being filled with the fragrance of flowers, it smells of decaying leaves.
Winter is an odd bird. It can be cold, snowy, wet, dark and long. But it is necessary to make spring the great season that it is.
I always find it difficult to imagine a cold winter day in the middle of summer, and equally difficult to imagine a warm summer day in the middle of winter.
Enjoy the spring! Here are some pictures of spring I snapped on my walk this morning.
There are few things as pleasant as spring afternoons. I was sitting out in the front yard the latter part of the afternoon, working my way through None So Blind (and thoroughly enjoying the novella, “The Hemingway Hoax”, which I had never read before). The temperature was in the upper 70s with a pleasant breeze. I had a cold Corona by my side. And the delicious smell of barbecue permeated the air from the neighbors backyard next door. I had a late lunch this afternoon, but the smell of that barbecue made me ravenous!
The humidity hasn’t arrived in the D.C. area yet, which is nice. I also noticed that the fireflies have not yet arrived. It may still be too early. Perhaps when I am back from L.A.
I took a walk earlier this evening, but on a day such as today, one walk isn’t enough so I’m about to head out for my second walk.
For some reason, days like this seems impossible to imagine in the deepest of winter, which makes them all the more special when they arrive. It’s one of the reasons I don’t think I could ever go back to living on the West coast.
I was awakened from a deep sleep in the middle of the night last night by the first thunderstorm of the season. It was the thunder that woke me up and within seconds of its rumbling, the rain started to come down and the patter it made on the roof of the house lulled me back to sleep, even though the thunder kept up at a steady pace for quite some time. (I know this because I woke up several hours later and it was still thundering out.)
I slept with my bedroom window wide open last night for the first time since last fall and it felt great. Eventually, it cooled down to the upper 40s, but the fresh air and the smell of freshly cut grass permeated my bedroom and I slept, for the most part, very soundly last night.
It looked as though there was a bright full moon last night as well and I take that to mean that Easter must be coming up this Sunday.
I took the first of my spring walks this evening. It was great. I got good weather on my birthday. It was just about as warm as it was in Orlando, Florida this past weekend. The temperature when I headed out the door was a balmy 81 degrees.
Sometimes, I read when I walk. I grabbed my paperback copy of I. Asimov and read while I walked at a leisurely pace and it was great. The air smells like spring, and the traffic is light enough in my neighborhood that I need only glance up to look for traffic when I cross the street. I love spring walks and reading when I walk is delightful, although it may look odd to those around me.
Halfway through my walk, the skies opened up.
Shoved my paperback into the back of my jeans and flipped my shirt over it so that it wouldn’t get wet. (I’m very protective of my books.) And I made for home. That is: I ran. For the first time, I really felt that all the cardio had paid off. I ran at a good clip all the way home. I was already nearly halfway through my walk, so I’d say I ran somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 mile. This wasn’t a jog, but a good run. And when I got to my door, I was only barely winded (although soaked). Within a few minutes, my heart rate returned to normal and it was as though I never ran. I really surprised myself.
The rain stopped about the time I got to my door, a true spring shower. Oh, and my book is fine. Not a drop of water made contact with its surfaces.
It occurred to me that today is the vernal equinox, also known as the first day of spring, and what better day to start a short vacation than on the first day of spring! I’ve been trying to decide what to listen to this morning to get into the springtime mood. There’s Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire’s rendition of “Spring, Spring, Spring”, there’s George Burns’ “It Might As Well Be Spring”. But then I remembered that in my senior year in college, I listened repeatedly to the Grease soundtrack because it made me think of spring, graduations, and the coming of summer. So this morning, in honor of spring, I’ll be listening to the Grease soundtrack.
The weather is beginning to change, too. It’s going to be in the upper 60s in the metro D.C. area later this week. Of course, the weather for Orlando is mostly sunny and in the low 80s through the weekend. More summer-like than spring, but I’ll take it.
I got home before 5 PM this evening. It hit 81 degrees here today and while it looks like it’s going to rain later (the year’s first thunderstorms?), I have the windows and door wide open and am basking in this early, pleasant spring-like weather.
It’s supposed to grow cold again toward the weekend, but I’m enjoying this while I can.
While it is not officially spring yet, it might as well be spring here in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. The temperature is going up to 70 degrees today and going up even higher to 75 tomorrow! The first bud are appearing on some neighborhood trees (not mine). It feels like spring out! If I get a chance, I’m going to head up to Buddy Attic lake later today and sit by the lakeside to read for a little while.
I have a whole bevy of spring-time songs going through my head, such as Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire’s “Spring Spring Spring” duet. Or George Burns hilarious “It Might as Well Be Spring”. Or Bing and Louis Armstrong’s “Gone Fishin'”. I love this time of year!
It’s beautiful here in Arlington, VA today. Sunny and warm with a light breeze. The beginning of spring is here. Every April I read the same three books, Isaac Asimov’s autobiographies, starting with I. Asimov and then In Memory Yet Green and In Joy Still Felt. This has become an April tradition for me for more than 10 years now, and it represents my official beginning of spring.
So today at lunch, I headed out the courtyard at Pentagon Row, found a chair in the sun, put my feet up, and cracked open I. Asimov making my way lazily through the first 15 pages. It was pure bliss. There is almost nothing so great as sitting in the sun, with your chair propped back and a good book in your lap. It is one of the most relaxing things I can imagine.
It’s also how I plan on spending most of this weekend.
For the last couple of mornings, when I leave for work, I’ve heard this fast drumming-like sound, something that sounds like a cell phone on vibrate on a wood table. It occurred to me the other day, that the sound is, in fact, a woodpecker in my neighbors tree. I can hear it right now (today, being a Saturday and I can stay at home and listen to it without feeling rushed to catch a train). Every thirty seconds or so, there it goes! Yet another sign that spring is here, I guess.
It’s warm enough to sleep with the windows open tonight. First time since last fall. It feels really nice out right now. We’re supposed to be getting some rain later, and things are going to cool down, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can.