Growing up, my mom always talked about the signs that a new season was starting, especially in spring. She still does this. We all got a text the other day announcing that she had spotted her first robin. The appearance of pussy willow buds, the first crocus bulb popping up through the ground, the first time there was still light in the ski as she drove us home from evening swim practice were all big deals. I ignored a lot of this as a kid, or at least I thought I was ignoring her (Gawd , Mom, who cares that the forsythia has bloomed?). As a parent, I realize how much those observations grounded me in nature.
It was after first becoming a parent, when I started spending more time outdoors with my kids, that I realized how out of touch with the seasons I’d become, and how much I missed that connection. That's what years of driving, working in an office, and spending free time inside a gym, restaurant or air conditioned home will do. A year would pass with me barely aware of the seasons, let alone how much time had gone by. Now, with my children, I'm trying to point out the little changes that come with a season, to make sure they are paying attention.
It's also pretty interesting stuff, knowing that the sound of what could be thousands of car alarms coming from the creek is actually tiny frogs just emerging from the mud and looking for their mates. And that a queen wasp comes out of its winter hiding spot and has to get to work building a whole new colony over again. Younger Son and I had a contest yesterday at the park to see who could find the most signs of spring, and have continued adding to our list since. Here are some of our observations:
1. People wearing short sleeves.
2. Lots of people playing at the playground.
3. Green plants growing near the creek.
4. Flowers beginning to grow (daffodil plants).
5. New bird songs.
6. Buds on trees.
7. Little flies flying around.
8. Spring peepers peeping at night.
Please feel free to add to our list. We'd love to learn more.