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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In the Kingdom of the Seasons

Every Spring I find myself in awe and wonder, full of hope, and just a little bit stir crazy. There is always a tug of war in the kingdom of the seasons. Winters are long in the Pacific Northwest. The sun rarely visits, the days are cold and soggy and the nights are spent listening to the freezing rain pouring through the heavens. Evenings become our saving grace. Inside, in the warmth, we wear our winter socks and huddle under blankets watching movies and playing games. We concoct all sorts of soups, stews and big cuts of meat that simmer all day then deliciously greet us after work with edible aromas. We scour our bartender bibles for strong libations. Winter has taken hold, continuing his nefarious rule over the seasons.

However, once the December holidays have been thoroughly celebrated then boxed up and put away, we begin the long descent awaiting Spring. Our rain jackets and rain boots grow mildew from never completely drying out.  The moisture cultivates farms of intricate moss that flourishes on every crevice of our cars, windows, front steps, bare tree limbs and walkways. It seems that every movie has been seen, every seasonal recipe tried and every game overplayed. Newscasters have worn out and overused their synonyms for rain (precipitation, showers, drizzle, driving mist, freezing rain, deluge, torrents, downpours, sprinkles, buckets...). Intrinsically, the desire for Spring takes root leaving us restless and ill at ease.

Then one day, almost imperceptibly, Spring arrives at the heels of Winter with Summer pushing in from behind, poking her head out just enough to encourage the sleeping trees and dormant bulbs to stir, setting in motion the miracle of life. Although she never rushes into things, the magic by which this mysterious season deposes her beauty around us always lures me into sheer amazement. When did the flowering fruit trees suddenly turn pink and the tiny green sprouts pushing through the hardened winter earth become bright yellow blooming daffodils? Birds begin to appear with their morning melodies when yesterday and in the long months before there was only silence.

As we emerge from hibernation, we find ourselves revitalized and consumed with plans. We pour over seed catalogues deciding what to plant in the vegetable garden; when to order mulch to fill our sodden garden beds, when to sprinkle grass seeds over muddy lawns; and what we will grill on the first sunny day. We schedule summer trips to the beach, make reservations at campgrounds and purchase wood for backyard fires.

On weekends, every window is forced open to let the stale Winter air free, inviting in the tasty breezes of early Spring. Rugs are taken outside and shaken furiously. Flowers, although mostly out of season still, are picked or bought and displayed on tables to discourage the Winter spirits from lingering.

Winter may imagine itself to be the more daunting force of nature but Spring is resilient and set in her ways. She will toss Winter from the dominion with a mandate to stay far, far, away while Spring has her corresponding time on the throne. After months of plowing through Winter's monotony, Spring reminds us to slow down and coast in neutral while enjoying her wanton displays of beauty. She puts a spring in our steps, gives us hope and inspires. Just as the withered world around us is coming back to life after a long slumber, so it is as our spirits re-awaken.

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