All Things Spring

    By Kelly Maue

    What do daffodils, dogwood trees, and MLB’s Opening Day have in common?

    They are telltale signs of spring, of course! It’s the season of starting over.

    It’s time to break free from the cold, dark days of winter and start fresh. It’s time to clean and declutter, pack away the winter coat, plant a garden, find a fair or festival, and welcome back migrating birds and the animals waking from hibernation.  

    In our part of the world, the first day of spring is March 19th. During this spring equinox (or vernal equinox, as it’s known worldwide), the length of day and night is roughly the same across the entire globe, and it only happens twice a year—spring and fall. In fact, the word equinox has a Latin origin: aequus (equal) and nox (night). While the vernal equinox introduces the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.   

    With springtime comes more daylight, and light and warmth mean more activity! Birds follow the path of the sun and migrate northward. Many experts believe the extended hours of sunlight prompt them to sing! The warmer weather causes other animals to shed their winter coats while trees, shrubs, and flowers start to bloom.

    Farmers have looked for clues to decide when to plant spring crops for centuries. Although the first day of spring is a typical day to start a garden, farmers would historically get more help from Mother Nature. In addition to watching the moon’s phases, they discovered other helpful springtime hints. For example, don’t plant potatoes before the dandelions bloom, and only plant peas, onions, and lettuce after the forsythias blossom.

    Spring is a time of growth and rebirth, and the season is aptly named. Around the 14th century, spring was known as “springing time,” in reference to vegetation springing up from the ground. It later became known as “springtime” and then “spring.”

    Whatever you call it, spring is the season of new beginnings. Many animals in nature start their families in spring while flowers and trees come back to life. Another transformative example is that spring is graduation season; students finish school and move on to their next chapter in life.

    Smile. There are many reasons to be happy this spring and science agrees. Research shows that extended daylight can improve energy and mood. Spring has also been referred to as the season of optimism! Audrey Hepburn said it well, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”