Today is the first day of Spring. Of the four seasons we experience here in New Jersey, Spring is my favorite. I love the beginning, because it means, technically, the long, hard winter is done. This does not come with a guarantee of no more snow. I have experienced more than one white Easter in my lifetime. But now, even when if it is still cold, the air has a different smell . It has a hint of water and dirt to it, like Earth is defrosting.
Last week, I noticed the first true signs of Spring aborning. I opened my front door, and scared a chipmunk. Chipmunks hibernate under the stairs that snake up the side of my driveway. Later that evening, I stood outside with the dog and heard the peepers. Frogs. It seems early to hear the frogs, but they start singing in the vernal pools that form as the snow melts. In the late Spring, their chirping combines with the crickets buzzing, and the resultant cacophany drowns out all sounds of civilization. It's a beautiful thing.
The final, truest sign of the new season was the Animal Control truck in my neighborhood. The bears have arisen.
We have quite a few black bears in my neck of the woods, and they, unlike the chipmunks and garter snakes, are not true hibernators. If we have a mild winter, they drift in and out of sleep, occasionally wandering out for something to eat. It's like my dream vacation. But this winter was not mild. Like the rest of us, the bears hunkered down, and are only now emerging. One, Four and Five took the dog for a walk through the neighborhood the other day, and a kind man told them he'd seen a bear wander through his yard. They turned around and came home. It's best to avoid the hungry bears.
The earth is awakening, and renewing itself. Spring always makes me want to do the same. I get to slough off the sleepy, old me, and think about growing. I am mulling some Megan-improvement projects, to go along with the rest of the Spring cleaning. Hopefully, the work won't prove to be too arduous-more on par with window washing than ditch digging. Necessary, but not back-breaking.
Has Spring arrived for you?