My dad always maintained that Spring was his very favourite time of year – being a contrary minded daughter, of course, I always argued that the barmy warmth of Summer was surely the most prized period of all. However, in more recent years (maybe age plays a part!) I’ve come around much more to his way of thinking and am considering promoting Spring as my number one season.
The joy of Spring is that is arrives to bring an end to Winter (sorry to all you chionophiles out there), which is my most dreaded season. After all the darkness, the cold, the bleakness the dormancy and the inactivity of the frozen period, Spring bursts its way out in all its vibrant, multi coloured glory!
So, when does Spring arrive? Well, there are a variety of options here, depending on where you live in the world and what theory you might subscribe to. Firstly, you will only experience Spring if you live in a temperate zone. If you live in the Northern hemisphere, then Spring will burst forth around the 20th March; however, in the Southern hemisphere it will arrive around the 20th September. Then again, if you are a meteorologist, you will divide the year up far more neatly than that and will cite that Spring begins on 1st March or 1st September for Northern and Southern hemispheres respectively.
Just to add a little more complexity (as if you didn’t have enough already!) the seasonal change that constitutes Spring only arrives when the climatic conditions are ripe – so that could vary from year to year and from place to place; it’s said that you can watch Spring travelling up the UK at a rate of 2mph!
I guess that no matter what the calendar says, you only really feel that Spring has arrived when you step out to feel some truly warming sunshine on your face and look about to see Spring flowers adorning gardens and fields alike and trees and shrubs budding up ready for their blossom and leaves to emerge.
As I eagerly await Spring, I hunt around desperately for sight of the first snow drops – after all, if a little flower like that can appear, then surely Winter must have passed, I reason (well that is always my vain hope, but then again they’re not called snowdrops for nothing so their emergence is often a bit too premature to proclaim Springtime is here).
Yes, I love Spring bulbs – they are minimum effort and maximum pleasure in my book. You buy them in Autumn (Fall), stick them in the ground, often (if you’re like me!) you forget where you planted them and then hey presto! up they come, surprising you and delighting you. Even ones from previous years make a reappearance to grace the garden floral displays.
If I think of Spring bulbs, I immediately think of daffodils – they strike me as such characterful flora, with colours that range from pale white to the deepest, zingiest yellow – they pop out and hit you in the eye – Spring! They declare.
Daffodils have traditionally been the symbol of new birth and new life
I always enjoyed the poem – The Daffodils – by William Wordsworth. However, what I didn’t know is that when he wrote it, he too was in the midst of epidemics and he found that the sight of the “hosts of golden daffodils” gladdened his heart amongst all the turmoil – it definitely makes sense and we appreciate why the daffodil represents new life and rebirth (the Welsh have sensibly adopted it as their national flower). Also, many folks are wearing them as a symbol of reflection on one year of the pandemic – a beautiful choice.
Spring is a time for many celebrations. There’s Songkran, when it’s traditional to drench friends, family and neighbours with water! But at least this is in Thailand, where it’s warm enough not to mind getting a soaking!
Then there’s Holi, celebrated in parts of India, where coloured powder is thrown over those same poor, unsuspecting friends and loved ones!
Of course, there’s also, Passover, where Jewish communities celebrate rebirth and freedom from slavery – families share a special meal called a Seder.
Easter too is synonymous with Springtime. This is the time when Christians remember Jesus’ crucifixion (Good Friday) and his resurrection (Easter Day) so is a contrast of sadness, followed by joy and celebration.
Of course, there’s May Day, with dancing around the Maypole and general having a jolly old time.
Whatever your traditions around Springtime, there is no doubt it’s inextricably linked to the creation of new life. Just think of Spring lambs gambling excitedly around the fields in the Spring sunshine. It’s that time when most creatures’ thoughts turn to love and there’s lots of nest building, egg laying and babies arriving. When you think about it, it’s a logical time of year to raise your young, as the weather has finally improved and they have the best seasons to develop, grow and be ready to face the next winter.
Spring is a time of sprucing up and cleaning out – this practice is believed to have begun in Iran and dates back 3,000 years. It’s a chance to clean out all the old winter debris and soot from your abode, ready to make it look ritzy glitzy for the better weather.
It’s not hard to see why Spring gives a boost to us – the days are finally longer than the nights, the sun is getting higher and warmer and new life is coming forth all around us – surely the sight of a little yellow ball of cheeping fluff that is a Spring chick or duckling would bring a smile to even the most cynical of faces.
Even though Spring is a transitional period, where the weather can be rather too winter like; but conversely is also capable of being very summer like, it’s a point of celebration. It’s a time to say, “yippee! we’ve made it through the long, dark, cold winter and the better times are on the horizon again.”
I think that’s one reason why Spring might give us more cause for celebration this year, as we desperately hope and pray that the world is finally emerging from the dark winter of the pandemic and creeping slowly, but surely, towards brighter, better times ahead.
The thought of that is enough to put a Spring in anyone’s step!