For the last week or so, I’ve been keeping my senses alert for the earliest signs of spring.
In a lot of ways, spring is our most flamboyant season but I just know, somewhere out there, it’s making a subtle entrance.
Despite the cold chill and the last flurries, I know spring is happening, can feel it in my bones.
The race is on. Spring. Nature’s first green.
But I didn’t want to catch the kind of spring that makes the news.
That kind of spring is easy to see, hard to overlook. It’s a princess. I wanted to find the kind of spring that doesn’t need to announce itself, the kind of spring that opens the windows for the rest of the season, the trigger that draws back the curtains and calls the rest of the kingdom to rise.
That was my hunt: spring’s modesty.
I wanted to find the meek spring before its gets too gaudy and too flashy.
It’ll take keen eyes, a quiet mind and small hands to notice its arrival but isn’t that always the case when it comes to noticing humility?
There are, of course, the big signs of spring, signs so big that they are beyond my four dimensions, signs that go unnoticed by my own feeble five senses.
Like the length of days. Beginning on March 17th, the day is now equal parts sunlight and moonlight. Check the almanac. Sunrise at 6:52am, sunset at 6:53pm.
The twelve-hour day is back.
We’re seven days ahead of Daylight Savings Time, six days past the new moon, two days beyond the Ides of March and three days away from the vernal equinox.
According to the Medicine Wheel, we’re in the transitional phases between the Big Wind Moon and the Budding Trees Moon.
But look at that calendar.
This March spans five weeks, enough room to squeeze in just a few extra phases. This is sometimes called the Full Worm Moon, a time when the ground softens and the worms begin turning the soil and crawling back into the sunlight which is, itself, a trigger for the birds to return.
Up north in New England, they call it the Full Sap Moon because it’s the harvest time for maple syrup. Go even further north, up there where the new angle of the sun now bounces off the everlasting ice, and they call it the Moon When Eyes Are Sore From Bright Snow.
But all that is just pie-in-the-sky mumbo jumbo. What really matters? The world is no longer pointed north. East has arrived, spring should be here, last moon of winter.
Thank Wabun, last moon of winter.
Now, where you at, spring?
There are five common street trees that are reliably known for early spring flowering: maple, pear, cherry, dogwood, magnolia.
Thanks to all those bright lights and all that heavy traffic, plus all that body heat, the inner city grid is warmer compared to the still wild parts of the city.
So it isn’t hard to see spring’s arrival down here on the mean streets.