A Spring in Your Step

The Link, Spring 2019
| by David Newland |

Somebody, somewhere, sometime said something I thought was pretty good: change is the only constant. And if there’s one change that people always accept, it’s the one that starts with the vernal equinox. Let’s face it – nobody protests the arrival of the spring season.

Of course, there are some things about spring that people dislike: flooding basements, muddy mudrooms, dripping trouser cuffs, lost umbrellas, overflowing eavestroughs and such. Not to mention the inevitable (but somehow, always still surprising) last snowstorm, usually around the middle of April. Oh…and filling out tax returns. Enough said about that!

Still, with all its unpopular aspects, spring rolls into town to the kind of reception other seasons must envy. Few people look forward to autumn, even though it’s generally agreed to be an agreeable season. Fewer still look forward to winter, aside from the holiday parts, and not many enjoy it while it’s here. In fact, people typically spend all winter dreaming about summer.

Spring is the season that gets the warm welcome, even if it doesn’t actually bring any warmth along with it. We embrace spring with open arms and glad smiles, both because of what we leave behind and what lies ahead. Behind us lie all the things we complain about and also all the things we brag about to people who live in southerly climes (they’re the same things: snow, ice and cold).

And better days surely lie ahead. The winter may go down hard, but eventually the sap is bound to start running in the sugarbush. By late March – no, make that mid-April – oh heck, sometime in May – we’re sure to feel the heat of the sun. That means one day there’ll be soft soil in the garden, light in the evenings, clear roads for riding bicycles, and eventually, with luck, warm sand at the beach.

“…spring rolls into town to the kind of reception other seasons must envy.”

Summer, of course, is widely seen as the purpose of life in these parts. But like many dreams come true, it isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. The moment the solstice has passed, the days begin to shorten again! Spring, as a preview of coming attractions, may even be more enjoyable than what it advertises.

Here’s the thing about spring, though. If we’re celebrating spring because it has put an end to winter, and because it brings with it the promise of summer, then what is spring, anyway? Spring is simply the most welcome part of a cycle that endlessly turns. The same old eternal whirling around the sun inevitably brings summer, and then autumn, and then winter again. Then it’s back to warmly wishing for the wonders of spring. That’s the Canadian calendar for you – imagining ourselves forward into a future that we anticipate with alternating dread and delight.

The spring season brings buds bursting, birds singing, kids spending glorious longer days outdoors, and so much more. But change is what we really celebrate each spring. Forget what’s behind, and what’s ahead. Embrace this season for what it is. That should put a spring in your step!

David Newland is a writer and musician based in Cobourg. In November of 2015, David was named a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a distinction that reflects a lifelong engagement with landscape and story.

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