“Spring beckons! All things to the call respond; the trees are leaving and cashiers abscond.”–19th century writer, Ambrose Bierce
The March equinox will occur tomorrow at 03:49 UTC or 10:49 PM Central Daylight Savings Time tonight. It signals the official first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
The official first day of spring in Nebraska is simply a formality. We’ve already experienced several spring-like days this year and we’ll undoubtedly have several winter-like days the rest of March and perhaps into April. Those of us who live in the Great Plains of North America are accustomed to this chain of events.
This mixture of winter and spring weather reflects my personal attitude about springtime in Nebraska. It’s a love/hate relationship. I love the new beginnings of flora and fauna that the warmer temperatures encourage. I hate the onslaught of violent weather. This is the time of the year when I yearn for the relative stability of winter. Spring often brings out my inner curmudgeon.
I have the right to be curmudgeonly about spring even if my acquaintances and friends disapprove. I’ve endured my share of violent thunderstorms that contain hail, strong winds, and the threat of tornadoes. The aftermath of these entail the extra chores of clean-up and damage repair.
I suppose the people who operate construction companies and roofers love the approach of spring. Spring is good for business. After tornadoes, construction companies will have neighborhoods to rebuild. After hail and windstorms, roofing companies pop up like mushrooms, seemingly out of nowhere.
There are big fans of violent weather, like storm chasers. Nasty weather makes for entertaining videos on the Weather Channel and YouTube but those videos keep the evil weather at a comfortable distance from the viewers.
The reality of violent weather is trouble and turbocharged inconvenience–especially for older folks. It’s difficult to get a full night’s sleep when severe weather arrives–usually at or after bedtime. The wind and lightning can be disconcerting. Will the neighborhood sirens start blaring? The NOAA weather radio is my frequent companion in the spring and summer months. I keep fresh batteries in the radio and my flashlights.
Now that I’ve gotten the negatives of spring off of my chest, I can contemplate and appreciate the upcoming season.
The upside of spring is getting outdoors more often and without the encumbrances of heavy parkas and snow boots. There will be the driving with four windows open–the rush of air will blow out the dust and cobwebs from the ol’ Camry’s interior. Walks around the block and the hiking trail will be more comfortable.
This year, I’m planning on a few modest home improvements that can mainly be done only during the warm months. There are windows to repair and siding to patch. I envision planting a few Midwest-hearty shrubs and some flowers around the perimeter of the house. When the severe weather is absent, I’ll be outdoors a lot this spring.
Then there are the people. Family, friends, and acquaintances are back in the picture more often. The highways are more travel friendly in the spring if one makes allowances for the re-arrival of road construction crews. No more worries about black ice sending vehicles into the ditches.
This is also the time of year for cultural events. There are a few holidays to celebrate. Baseball is back in spring. How will my Giants fare this year? What about the local and state college teams? Then there are the high school players and the American Legion sponsored teams that are big in Northeast Nebraska. There’s always a baseball game somewhere to attend.
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”–George Santayana
I like Santayana’s take on spring. I’m fascinated with the two solstices and the two equinoxes. These astronomical events signal our planet’s everlasting life cycle.
It’s time for rebirth here in the North.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Hunkpapa Lakota leader, Sitting Bull. “Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the Earth has gladly received the embraces of the Sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!”