Stranger Days #36: Springing

A photo of small yellow flowers blooming on a tree branch.Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

I'm not sure when I first started to appreciate the return to life that spring represents. As a kid, I knew it happened and there were clear signs such as Daylight Savings, the start of baseball or track season, feeling less cold when walking to school or standing at the bus stop, and the like.  In the woods that I often wandered, I don't think I always took notice of such changes either.  Probably, in part, because I wandered up there so much, the seasons were often indifferent less there was snow.  

I supposed in my teens and twenties, when relevant, it was a season that represented getting the lawn-mower out.  In my late 20s and much of my 30s, it represented the start of the garden. It was sometimes around here that I began to appreciate spring more fully. It obviously had to do with doing gardening and connecting with the earth and seeing things grow from nothing to food.  
A hedge bush with two distinct shades of green leaves.
But funny enough, it was technology that also got me to appreciate the arrival of spring.  In particular, the smart-phone camera with its ability to take crisp and clear photographs.  Photos that I could enjoy days or months later when the vibrance of spring was long gone.  I found that I could enjoy watching and capturing the unraveling of spring with the camera and so that encouraged me to look more often at the world around me to see what was right before me.

Each day, my partner and I go for a walk at lunch. It's an opportunity to get some fresh air, to step away from endless zoom meetings, and to just relax.  I've noticed in the last few walks that spring is finally creeping into its full effects. I noticed the buds and the starts of leaves.  
A photo of small yellow flowers blooming on a tree branch.
But at the end of my run this morning in the cool and quiet of the morning, it just felt it wasn't just arriving but it was here.  And in arriving, I think what I appreciate about spring these days is how much of it reminds me of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emmerson's essay, "Self-Reliance.

"Travelling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places."

I have issues with the essay as a whole but this idea that we fetishized the foreign at the expense of the local is an idea that I've appreciated over the years, even as I have continued to travel. The things that we marvel at in other places are not necessarily so different from the things we see around us if we only take the time to really look and study our surroundings.  But alas, we take our surroundings for granted and overlook the distinct elements that are enveloped in our every day.  
A white-pedalled flower with reddish insides--also from a tree.
Spring reminds me because I more easily catch the trees, bushes, and other living elements change anew and draw in my attention to spend some time noticing the beauty that is literally outside my doors.  

As you've been stuck in more local proximity than you usually are, what are you noticing in your neighborhood?  What beautiful things stick out that you might not have seen previously?  

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

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