By John Hopkins
Spring is often described as a time of rebirth, renewal or rediscovery. After a winter of darkness, snow and cold the arrival of warmer weather and longer days brings a renewed vitality. Animals awaken from their slumber and venture out of doors again. The act of spring cleaning symbolizes that renewed sense of purpose and direction.
I can always identify with these feelings at this time of year. For example, as the snow was melting a couple of weeks ago I rediscovered the storage tub that contained my salt at the top of the driveway. I had placed the tub there, ready to use when the first big snowstorm hit and I needed to salt the drive and get my car out. Of course, once our first (and essentially only) big snowfall hit the tub was buried and rendered useless (note to self: next winter do not choose a clear tub with a white lid for this purpose).
The melting snow also helped me rediscover the outdoor Christmas decorations my sister-in-law had put up, which had later been blown to the ground and buried in snow. That led me to bring the bins containing our decorations out of their hibernation in the storage shed, which led to the rediscovery that our sheds need to be cleaned out.
As the snow disappeared I also rediscovered the many leaves that were not raked and disposed of last fall. This will no doubt lead to another trip to the shed to bring the leaf blower out of its winter hibernation. I am sure I will also again discover that the sheds need to be cleaned, and discover many odds and ends that were meant to be taken to the dump or second-hand stores last year, but spent the winter in seclusion. It is quite likely that these various pieces of furniture and the like will spend the summer outside, waiting to be retired to their final resting place, only to be returned to the shed once again in the fall, much to Nancy's frustration and my embarrassment, for another winter of hibernation. Consider it a variation of the eternal circle of life.
The harsh winter, of course, can bring with it death, but this can lead to a rebirth of another kind. For example, Nancy's car could not quite survive another winter, so it was retired to its final resting place. However, that passing led to the arrival of a new vehicle, so in a way the turning of the seasons continued their natural course. Of course, purchasing that car led to the death of our savings account, and the inevitable rebirth of a line of credit.
"To everything, turn, turn, turn..."
On a more uplifting note, the arrival of spring has led to the rediscovery we have neighbours. Throughout the winter the houses and cottages around us seemed empty and derelict, with only the occasional furtive glow of headlights in the seemingly endless dark hinting that we may not be alone. Yet now we see actual human beings across the river, moving around out of doors in apparent comfort. It is a surprisingly reassuring sign.
As the weather has warmed we have rediscovered that we have woodpeckers and, unfortunately they have rediscovered that we have trees. Strangely, they seem to make this discovery very early on weekend mornings, which is proof that rebirth in the natural world has its downside too.
The sun and warmth have brought out chipmunks in increasing numbers, which has resulted in a renewed interest in the sliding porch doors for our two cats, who are no doubt relieved to have something other to torment besides each other. You can see the fresh enthusiasm in their faces as their noses probe the sweet spring air taking in all the scents that have reappeared. After a lethargic and mundane winter, there seems to be a renewed jump in their step and vitality to their movements. Whether this renewed enthusiasm will lead to the necessary weight loss in our large orange tabby is another matter, however.
We might not celebrate all the renewals that spring brings -- for every blooming tree bud and warm, sunny evening there are allergies and the impending arrival of black flies and mosquitoes -- but one cannot argue that it is an exciting and energizing time, and a welcome relief from the dark and mundane winter. My advice is take all the positives from it you can. It will pass soon enough and we will be staring at the ongoing gloom of winter once again.