Spring is just around the corner

– Posted in: Meditations, Mud Season

Shoveling on the Valentine's Day storm
The trouble with that platitude is that Spring is so erratic around here that we often don’t recognize it when it comes. For the next eight weeks or so, every time we hit a spell of bad weather, we will repeat to ourselves, and each other, “Well, spring is right around the corner.” But we’re never quite sure which corner is the corner.

We all think we recognize Spring when we encounter it. Spring is one of those glorious days when it’s not too hot or too cold, the birds are singing, and a gentle breeze (as opposed to a gusty wind) is blowing, bringing the fragrance of earth warming and flowers blossoming. Trouble is, we could have one of those days in March–or April–or May. We could also have snow in any of those months, though I grant you, in May it would be melted by noon, if it ever stuck at all. And Summer, why that’s when it gets up in the 90s (F) and everyone wears shorts and sandals and the kids play in the sprinkler. Need I tell you that this scenario has happened in April, May, and June? (Though more often in July or August, I concede.)

I’ve come to reckon the seasons more by what’s blooming than what the thermometer reads. If the daffodils are blooming, it’s Spring. Never mind the snowflakes coming down. Or, as the case may be, the sweat on your brow. I know that sometime in mid-March the back of winter will be broken. We call what follows Mud Season. In between that and Summer is Spring, often recognized more in hindsight than when it’s actually here. Really, all the seasons overlap and blend into each other, but try explaining that to a four-year-old who wants to know, “Is today Spring?”

Nope, not today. Today the weatherman speculates the high temperature will be 9F (-13C).

Gusty northwest winds, and single digit temperatures, will combine to produce wind chill temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 below zero (F).

And yet, four days from now, the high is expected to be 42F (6C). See? Spring is just around the corner!
dripping pine photo by Rundy 2003

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Craig Levy March 10, 2007, 6:53 pm

My thermometer reading on Friday morning was -12 and a neighbor had -14. But today is Saturday and the reading was 28 in the morning with a high of 50. I enjoy comparing mine with yours and hope it isn’t too boring for everyone else.

Prior to the cold this week – and long time residents will admit to its unusual timing – it sure felt like spring: longer day length, change in bird song, and the colors of some of the trees are different. The yellow stemmed willows and red maples have an intensity of color in their branches that was lacking in February. It rained today for the first time since last fall (I’m not going to count the sleet and freezing rain combo of a few weeks ago) and the aromas and odors are talking to me of spring. I always think of the next few months as winter trying to pull spring into its grasp again but spring has other ideas and tries to push itself into summer.

Ottawa Gardener March 10, 2007, 10:56 am

They promised me 10 degrees this week.

If you want to torture yourself, check out the 14 day forcast on the weather network website. Whenever it shows good weather I get all excited and think this is it, but then…

I think I see the corner… no, wait. Yup, there it is… hmmm… disappeared…. I refuse to go outside again until it is at least -5 degrees.

Mary Ann March 7, 2007, 9:31 pm

yikes! look at that snow! 25 below???????? Egad. And to think I cleaned out a big flower bed yesterday to give the tulips and alliums some light and air. And I saw three daffodils in someone’s yard today.

Stay warm and happy.

Mary Ann March 7, 2007, 9:26 pm

yikes! look at that there snow!

Chigiy Binell March 7, 2007, 2:24 pm

Ahhh, spring, most gardener’s favorite time of year. Just hold on a little longer, i’ts almost here.

Giddy March 7, 2007, 8:24 am

As cold as it is today, mud season sounds positively tropical! Never thought I’d be so looking forward to it.

Carol March 6, 2007, 8:46 pm

It surely is just around the corner, it surely is. I can’t wait…