Spring Thoughts

I am always a bit overwhelmed by the advent of spring.  The three or four winter months with their cold, snow, and darkness is pleasant enough at first, snuggling with the fire and seasonal decorations, but does eventually gets long and somewhat depressing. Then the calendar promises spring. Sadly, I expect it any day weeks before it arrives then one day, the light is a little different suggesting good things to come. As I observe this unwinding to spring I see so many things in the nature of people and mother nature that gives me a sense of hope. Here are a few of my thoughts and observations.

Hearing the first sounds of song birds makes me smile. The sun is on its way as the songs of winter birds are mingling with those arriving or passing through.  The extended hours of day light brings on an inner stirring – let’s move – let’s sing – let’s find new things to eat.

Several weeks ago I was awed by twenty cedar waxwings resting in the river oak growing outside my living room window creating quiet a portrait. This elegant bird just was passing through.

I am waiting for the humming birds and orioles….feeders displayed.


A true sign of spring is putting out the birdbaths. I have created elegant mosaics in their basins, placed pennies made prior to 1983(still have copper to slow down the algae) and placed them in just the right spots. Birds announce the baths arrival as the less than shy chickadee waits for the first drink on the limb above my head. But ouch, the next morning the basin is on the ground. Who does this. My trail camera lets me know.

While establishing his territory a male robin mistook his reflection as a challenger. For days he charged this false foe. I laughed as his footprints showing all his toes are well displayed on the window. He must have found a mate as he has not been seen for a few days.

It is my observation that the male duck is a first-rate caregiver. I am observing pairs flying over head or waddling through the open fields. Landing in a large puddle in my yard the male watches the female swim then waddle over to eat the corn left for the deer. Only when she is done and preening beneath the pine trees

will he eat.  The couple explored my back hill checking out nooks and crannies for a nest. I believe our yard was rejected as I haven’t seen them for a couple of days and the puddle is now dry.

Ahh, but down state the great-great-great- grand-daughter of a duck I cared for was back nesting in the court-yard of the school in which I taught.  For years I made sure these ducklings and their mother found their way out of the courtyard. Upon retiring I found a willing volunteer to keep an eye out for them. Being a bit ahead of us weather wise the ducklings have hatched and made their parade out the building to a site unknown to us to this very day.


As I rounded the house to take the recycling out, there she was under the pine tree,  a large female rabbit collecting pine needles for her nest. I walked quietly not looking at her and she stayed. Returning to fill the bird bath I spotted her behind the sumac. I dumped some corn near the bird bath which she went to as soon as I turned by back. I left her alone but suspect she is building a nest nearby and we may be enjoying some bunnies in the near future.

The bee boxes are in the orchards ready for business. This is a sure sign the peninsula will be in full blossom very soon. The blossom sheer beauty and the promise of a future harvest is invigorating.  Farmers are  busy tending their trees, vineyards and fields, such noble work. The farm stands are sporting fresh maple syrup, marvelous eggs, leaving a spot for the soon to arrive asparagus. Mushroom hunters are out searching for the rare morel mushroom that makes its appearance with the forsythia disappearing with the lilacs. Today I observed a jogger stopped by a tree sorting through the grass hoping to find this mushroom treasure.


The first flowers of the season are appearing – dandelions, crocus, daffodils, tulips, forsythia, and hyacinths. The trees are leafing out, the willows first. All is good.

People too seem to renew their spirit with the coming of spring. We venture out of out homes and renew relationships with  our neighbors.  We notice our community and the life it holds. Sometimes, for a brief moment, we enter the lives of strangers renewing a sense of worth for all involved.

With the first signs of spring coming into view a friend and her husband drove to a doctor’s appointment. As they did they spotted a homeless man walking on the roadside.  Sadly, something we all have come notice without much thought.  On their return they saw the same man sitting on the side of the road rubbing his bare feet.  Stopping their car her husband asked the man’s shoe size….sadly he had larger feet than the driver. The driver however took off his socks and told the gentleman something was better than nothing. This small but tremendous act of kindness left both parties feeling needed and cared for.

A second friend had brought her dog to a canine eye specialist miles away from her home.  As she waited she observed a heavy set tattooed man bring in his small dog. He asked for towels as the dog was bleeding badly. The vet took the dog for examination not allowing the gentleman to observe. Do whatever you have too he said through his tears. The poor gentleman continued to weep. After multiple tests and blood work the diagnosis, an infected uterus. The dog would need to be spayed and hopefully the infection was contained or more surgery would need to be done. They brought out an estimated bill, $800. The gentleman became so distraught he was moved to another room where he made calls to his wife and mother. My friend asked to speak with him. She told him she was aware of his dog’s situation and she was an avid supporter of dog charities. She would like to pay the dog’s bill. He explained he had been referred to a voluntary vet clinic and would need less money but still had today’s costs. Between his wife, mother and his next pay check he felt he had enough to pay for spaying. Could they set up a payment plan so he could pay her back maybe through the vet?  She told the  gentleman you don’t need to know who I am and I don’t need to know you…..it is the dog that needs care.  She paid his days bill along with her own. The vet called my friend several days  later reporting that the pup was now healthy and at home.  Again…..people rejoicing in life.

Oh yes, a definite sign of spring…..baseball from small to tall.  I love it when my students start bringing their mitts to school. These well massaged hopes of great catches, the brightness in their eyes and smiles of a thought of a home run or maybe a grand slam.  Fathers and mothers:  “That’s my boy.” or ” Good eye.”  Grandparents cheering on… the most faithful of fans.


Yes, spring is a time to rejoice in life in a variety of ways….think about your spring….it will bring a smile to your face. I better get this published as in a few days it will be summer….the time we see the fruits of spring.


Boing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Spring Is Here

Basking in the spring sun.
Basking in the spring sun.

For several weeks now I have been looking for my first robin, the first crocus, or that first truly warm breeze brushing across my face. I have been looking for spring. Spring has been a topic of conversation at the market, in the news, and on walks through the woods. I am being teased by a bit more daylight, the warmth of the sun through the window, song birds singing in the trees and a bit of green here and there. Spring is and has been a cause for celebration for centuries…we are by no means the first to feel the joy.

It is the fourth dimension, time that brings us cause for the seasons . The concept of time came to ancient peoples as they realized patterns in nature. The first lessons were in the motions of the stars, next earthly activities such as migrations.  A day equals one sun and one moon. The month is new moon to new moon. Each flooding of the Nile occurred yearly. Keeping track of time is important for human survival. When do we plant? When do we migrate? When should we begin storing food?

Devices to measure time were created to predict answers to these questions enhancing the chances of survival. These devices ranged from tally marks etched into bones to atomic clocks. We have discovered and are in awe of many of the ancient time pieces such as Stonehenge, Chaco Canyon Spirals in New Mexico, and my very favorite, the pyramids at Chichen Itza, Mexico to name a very few.

photo: wikipedia Chichen Itza
photo: wikipedia Chichen Itza

I have had the pleasure of visiting the Chichen Itza pyramids. The Mayans built these structures in 1000 AD to support a place of worship. The walls of the pyramids were built at a very steep angle forcing the climber to bend over in a bowing position as he or she ascended. At either side of the base of the steps are large serpent heads mouths opened wide. In the Mayan culture the serpent brings all life to Earth. There are marvelous stone carvings of serpents with flowers, butterflies and birds flowing out of their mouths. The pyramid is positioned in such a way that on the first day of spring at noon a shadow descends from the top of the structure to the serpents head forming a complete body….it is time to plant.

Spring has always been an important marker as it is seen as a time of rejuvenation, rebirth, or  new  beginnings. There always seems to be excitement in having a fresh start. Festivals mark spring world wide.

The scientific name for spring is the Vernal Equinox or March Equinox. Equinox is Latin for equal night. On this day there will be equal hours of daylight and night time darkness. The exact day of the equinox varies from year to year between the days of March 19th and 21st. This year spring begins on March 20th at 12:20 EST the earliest spring recorded since 1896.

Meteorologists divide the seasons into groups of three months, spring being the months of March, April and May. Ecologists feel spring arrives when the hardy flowers such as daffodils, tulips, and crocuses appear, the soil can be smelled and the animals become active.

 drawing www.geog.ucsb.edu
drawing www.geog.ucsb.edu

The astronomer tells a different story.  In reference to the sun the Earth tilts at a 23 degree angle. As the  Earth orbits around the sun the hemispheres are tilted toward or away from the sun. When the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun it is winter as it tilts toward the sun it is summer. The transition times are autumn and spring.

IMG_1149Living in the northern portion of the northern hemisphere I have begun to see many signs of new beginnings. My first was the yellow crocus in the flower bed next to the porch. The daffodils are poking through the ground. The robins are back with their chubby red breasts and waddle. The tree branches are less defined with buds plumping and buckets hung in the sugar bush. The sun is visible…..something to get used to in Michigan after 59 cloudy winter days. The squirrels and chipmunks are busy under the bird feeders.


Peek out your back door and watch the marvelous re-birthing of  the Earth. It will bring you joy.

Summer grape
Summer grape



Spring sunshine....bay neat
Spring sunshine….iceless Bay





Summer Cherry
Summer Cherry








A bit of green....maybe algae
A bit of green….maybe algae




www. Umich.edu/~lowbrows’reflections’1999/simmons.2.html