Spring

Yes, the word refers to a natural water source, sudden movement, origin, growth, elasticity, and a mechanical device. And more. But I’m guessing when you read “spring,” you were thinking what I’m thinking: the season that just began on March 21st.

Happy spring!

When we think spring, we think flowers. Naturally.

When we think spring, we think flowers... naturally.

My school just had “spring break” last week. During my lovely ten-day absence from academia, I wondered why we Midwesterners even bother to call it “spring break.” Sure, we already had “Christmas break” in December and “winter break” in February, but let’s be honest. We might as well call it “winter break number three,” or “perpetually disappointing week of horrible weather,” or “a week off – can’t promise it will be nice.”

I spent the beginnings of spring in Holland, MI, Chicago, and the Twin Cities. And while I do love sunshine and the occasional glimpse of a crocus bud or tulip poking out of the ground, it is difficult to enjoy these things when it is STINKIN’ 30 DEGREES OUTSIDE. And when you have a BLIZZARD dumping a FOOT of SNOW on your driveway.

What about flip flops? Running around the lake in shorts? Bike rides? Planting flowers? Nope, none of that for the midwest. We have two seasons: frostbite and sunburn. And we get terribly cheated out of the other two seasons that the rest of the country enjoys.

Spring just doesn’t arrive in the Midwest when it should – or, at least, the spring I imagine when the word comes to mind. And everybody knows what a nice spring should be like.

Depending on where you live in the country, your experience of spring may be drastically different. In Oklahoma, it means humid, sticky mornings that force my relatives to wake up as the sun rises in order to jog or shoot baskets outside. Then they go fry breakfast on the driveway.

In Florida, it means 80 degrees, blue skies and rain showers, paradise, long lines of Disney-goers and beach bum college students with unlimited freedom and families of six buying matching t-shirts that read St. Pete Beach. It means the presence of outsiders who flee cold climates and take full advantage of Florida’s warmth, even as the local Floridians sit in sweatshirts, shivering, on spring mornings watching children build sandcastles on the beach.

In Washington D.C., spring is tour groups, soft breezes, politics-as-usual, and the famed cherry blossoms along the Potomac. It is tourists with a windbreaker tied around their waist as they frantically take notes at every memorial, every museum, every national hot spot.

Spring isn’t just the weather. Spring is about what you do with that weather – the masses emerging from hibernation to enjoy kind forecasts and celebrate growth in outdoorsy activities. I love spring, or at least the concept of it. And even though I feel cheated out of a proper spring thus far in the midwest, I know spring weather is on its way.

Even if it only lasts two weeks before the season of sunburn hits. But I’m just going to count my blessings and thank God for Michigan sunshine in any form. Thirty degree weather included.

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5 thoughts on “Spring

  1. Brooke, I’m glad you resolved to enjoy the spring of Michigan however hesitantly it presents itself. Personally, I like the mystery of spring. Each day could be something completely different and unexpected. It’s a season of layers to peel off as the sun warms the ground toward noon and to cover up in after a vibrant sunset framed by leafless trees. It’s full of potential warmth, but you have to be patient. If you haven’t already you should check out E.E. Cummings poem on spring: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15407

    Thanks for another wonderful word to picture!

  2. I’ve always found it much easier to count on Fall or Autumn in Michigan. Spring is sometimes non-existent. At some point the snow melts, it rains for a while, then it’s summer. At least there is usually a solid one to two months of Fall. Until it snows in October and that party ends…

  3. I like the poem. Julie! And your reminder to be patient is good… after months and months of winter, my patience, like my winter coat, has worn thin. All I can think is I want warmth now. But it will come.
    So true, James… sometimes I think the midwest skips spring. Which is highly disappointing.

  4. Things I’ve learned about Michigan:
    -There actually are four seasons: Summer, Pre-Winter, Winter, and still Winter. This applies to just about every other area from Missouri to the Dakotas to Ohio to Kentucky, but oh well. Such is our lot in life, right?

    Also, I absolutely loved the alternative names for spring break. Made me laugh out loud. haha

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