Monday, March 25, 2013

I Saw the Sign(s)

Since this morning was sunny and relatively warm, and since my kids (and myself) seem to be suffering from a bit of cabin fever and a desperate need of fresh air, I decided that it would be a good day to take a long walk. And since I’ve been reading up on homeschooling lately and am getting inspired, I also decided that it would be a good opportunity to learn about spring. So as part of our walk, we looked for signs of spring. This is what we found!

1.      Puddles
We traced some puddles back to clumps of snow that were melting. We traced other puddles back to hoses coming from people’s basements. Both sources of puddles are definitely a sign that the snow is melting and spring is coming!
2.      Mud
Much like #1 above, mud is a sometimes unpleasant sign of the coming of spring. Melting snow mixed with road sand and clots of dirt thrown up by careless snowplows results in fascinating mud sculptures in the shape of everything from tire ruts to fantastical cityscapes. And, of course, muddy footprints. Lots of muddy footprints. A sign not only of the arrival of spring but also of the need of spring cleaning in its many forms.
3.      Easter decorations
We saw several houses with Easter flags or Easter baskets or Easter bunnies or spring wreaths hanging on their front doors. We saw one house with two bushes out front covered with brightly colored plastic Easter eggs. We saw a neighbor hanging up a big Easter bunny flag. He asked my son if the Easter bunny was coming to our house and what he would bring. My son said that he WAS coming and would bring us Easter eggs with candy inside! Anticipation of Easter candy by small children is a sure sign of spring.
4.      Birds
We heard lots of birds singing their spring songs: the distinctive “chim-chim-cherreeee” of a red-winged blackbird, the “sweeeeeetie” call of a lovesick chickadee, the serene hooting of a mourning dove. We saw a robin hopping about searching for worms. We saw a bird’s nest in a tree. Seeing and hearing more birds than we have in a while, and especially hearing the change in their songs to their spring mating calls, is one of the earliest – and one of my favorite – signs of spring.
5.      Budding plants
The tree in our front yard has fat, fuzzy buds all over it. There are a dozen or so dwarf irises peeking their little green noses through the dirt and snow by our front steps. We saw some forsythia that was starting to bud. One of our neighbors has clumps of some kind of decorative grass that has some fresh, bright green tips poking up among the dead brown leaves from last year. In a year when we’ve been taunted by warm weather interspersed with snowstorms, new green leaves are a reassurance that eventually the snowstorms will stop coming and the warm spring weather will be here to stay.
It felt good to get some fresh air and exercise, it felt great to spend time talking and learning with my kids, but it felt spectacular to prove to myself that spring really is on its way. I know it is, because I saw the sign(s)!

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