After A Long Winter’s Nap

Dancing in delight

Dancing in delight

Spring. The vernal equinox when day and night equate each other. The season when Mother Nature dresses up her children to dance across the warming earth after a long winter’s nap. Tree buds swell in red only to open in more shades of green than we knew possible and flowers in yellows, pinks and purples herald the coming of longer days.

Perhaps it’s because I was born in the spring or perhaps it’s because I’m a third generation gardener or perhaps it’s the lengthening sunnier days, but spring is by far my favorite season. Spring is a time of new life, of rebirth, a time of renewal for mind, body and soul.

Though my winters are not as long, and certainly not as harsh, as they were when I lived in the north, South Carolina dishes up enough winter to make me yearn for spring. Fortunately, by the time the calendar announced the vernal equinox this week, signs of spring were already here and in full bloom. Daffodils bobbing their heads alongside forsythia and azalea blossoms make me want to celebrate this season of new beginnings.

Here are some things I do to celebrate spring:

1. I get outside! After being cooped up for the last few months, nothing feels as good as the release of doing physical work in the garden. Even my sore muscles from shoveling, hoeing and raking make me feel alive with the joy of spring. I welcome the dirt under my nails. Even if you don’t garden or don’t like to garden, go for a walk, try hiking or riding a bike. Plant a pot of spring flowers for your front porch or make a wreath for your door _ do it outside, of course.

2. Speaking of making things, in honor of the season of renewal, rebirth, new life, take up a new activity be it a hobby, exercise or pastime. Do something you haven’t done before. As lilies poke up through the soil and the maples unfurl their leaves, I seed flats with vegetables and flowers in anticipation of April 15, our last frost date. As part of my summer garden planning, I always choose something to grow that I haven’t planted before. This year it is two varieties of hot, hot, hot peppers. Whew! If they are too hot for my palate, I’ll string them up and dry them for fall wreaths or swags.

3. Go someplace locally you have never visited before _ a park, museum, historical site. We often forget to vacation in our own backyard. Spring is a great time to discover local attractions before summer crowds gather. Living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I’m never at a loss for parks, trails, waterfalls or art studios to visit. There are historical sites, such as the Cowpens Revolutionary War Battlefield and old plantations, along with museums and city, county and state gardens and arboretums. There are farmers markets and outdoor concerts, which start in April. These are just a few ideas. What’s in your backyard?

4. At the very least, visit a garden or arboretum. It is a great way to relax, de-clutter your winter weary mind and refresh your spirit. For me gardening is meditative, almost mindless. Always my goto de-stressor, working in the garden clears my mind so I’m ready for what life throws at me. With bees buzzing around my fingers as they work the flowers and birds calling to potential mates, it’s hard not to feel a certain calm. I often visit public gardens to get ideas for my garden, but if I’m on a mission, it’s to sit on a bench, breath in the sunshine and watch the bees joyfully harvesting after a long winter’s nap.

These are some of the ways I celebrate this glorious season. Hopefully, they will give you some ideas of your own or perhaps you already have some you’d like to share. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy spring!