Spring means different things to different people. Yes, it’s the interlude between winter and summer, but the memories it uncovers are wide and varied.
To me, it’s when the dreary winter-dull grass down on the Golf Course turns to bright green, and people, not just the walkers, begin to people its pathways.
My friend jumped at my question with, “Oh, Ethel, yellow baby chicks. They mean it’s Spring and warm weather will be here in two blinks of our eyes.” She told me that the fertile chicken eggs were kept in the house and carefully cosseted in warm shallow shelters, where watchful eyes could keep track of seeing the chick, from inside of the shell, would keep pecking at the shell until it broke and they found their way out. A miracle to the child my friend then was and still a miracle to anyone watching such wonders.
I hadn’t thought of animals as Spring, but, of course, young animals mean Spring to most who grew up in rural areas, and so it was no surprise when Bob recalled running in their pasture and playing with baby lambs. He says the mother Ewe would watch, but wasn’t disturbed, for the newborn ones have to exercise. His Dad, didn’t let him run them too long or too hard, but says it was good for the lambs and for him. And to remember, too.
For Wayne, who grew up in Lethbridge, Canada, Spring meant the Chinooks. “Oh, Ethel, the Chinooks came and the bitter cold was over. I recall one day when it was 25 degrees below zero, and I was bundled from head to toe to get to school, but later that morning a Chinook came swooping down and when I went home that afternoon, I carried all those clothes in my arms, not on me. Spring brought the Chinooks, and the Chinooks meant the end of bitter cold and warmth for us all.”
Bernice had nothing to do with green grass, baby chicks, or baby lambs, but, she remembered how our Mother, (she is my sister) would insist that we wear LONG cotton stockings all winter long, and how, when Spring came, on her way to school, and well out of Mom’s sight, she would unhook and roll those stocking down as far as possible so that all day long she walked around school with huge ‘do-nuts’ of rolled stocking around her ankles. ‘Do-nuts’ that were carefully rolled back up and hooked (remember Panty Waists?) before Mom saw her. Yeah, parental rebellion was Spring, too.
Nina saw herself ‘helping’ her father Till the garden soil, as she walked behind him, barefoot, and enjoying the warmth of the just-Tilled soil against her bare feet and wiggling her toes within its warmth. She had seen her Father put the dry fallen leaves on the garden spot before winter arrived, and now she saw those leaves as compost and being mixed with the good earth. Nina saw the ‘complete circle’ and you can’t get any better than that.
I will not forget one day when I saw that someone had scattered small pieces of bright orange paper over my back lawn, and as I tsk-tsk-ed over the ‘mess’, I went out to clean up the trash. But there was no trash, just the beauty of Crocuses (I know the plural is Croci, but I like the other) that Gram and I had planted, and now had multiplied and spread over a large space. They are gone now, for I belatedly found that Weed killer for dandelions is a killer of crocuses, too. And I unwittingly did it.
My sons remember roaming the pasture (before it was for golf) and prowling for frogs, toads, bumble bees, and turning over rocks to see the worms and bugs sheltered there while waiting for the warm sun to lure them out. Everything came alive down there where, to the casual eye, there was naught but cows and horses. Only kids would have the time and curiosity see how much life really returned each Spring.
Deanna remembers how her whole family, aunts, uncles and cousins, would go out to the West Desert for a great big picnic, and she didn’t really know why, but only how great it was.
I think I know why. One of her Uncles, Dominic and his kids, were Rock Hounds and that west desert was a bonanza for such hunting. The Rocks were later polished and he made lovely pieces of art from them. I have a beautiful Rock Clock, that he made from rocks, that maybe he found on a ‘picnic’ day. But it’s autographed by his daughter Joyce, and hangs on my wall where visitors see and admire it. Rocks too, speak of Spring.
Chicks, lambs, Rock Hunting, Crocuses, bare feet in newly tilled garden soil, long stocking rolled down to ankles, looking under rocks for bugs about to come forth, the Chinook winds, lavender Hyacinths in full bloom with their heady aroma, all speak of Spring. And maybe what reminds you of Spring is world’s apart from any of the above, but while you’re enjoying this 2013 Spring, take a moment to remember and enjoy again, your childhood years. They’re priceless.