Spring this year has made me feel like a child on a long car ride. When the sap started flowing back in March, I thought that I had everything I needed to make it through to summer. With lots of syrup to sweeten my meals and seed catalogues to keep me dreaming of warmer weather, it seemed like I could nestle in to the remnants of winter like the back seat of my parent’s 1983 Oldsmobile and enjoy the ride.
Then it snowed again. And again. With a whole lot of freezing rain when it wasn’t snowing. Suddenly, my socks didn’t seem to warm and cuddly. My maple-candied almonds and homemade cider tasted dull and bitter as I dreamed of fresh corn on the cob. The sap continued to flow and the nature center staff kept trudging through the snow and mud to make syrup. Even as we all smiled about how much syrup we were able to make, we had one eye on the sky, waiting for the tanagers and then the warblers to join the red-winged blackbirds.
Like my dad on a trip to Florida at the North Carolina border, Nature kept saying that we are almost there. But, just like when I was 7 with no more books to read and gorged on snacks and juice boxes, all I could think about was flip flops on the beach. At the beginning of April, I thought for sure that I was going to lose my mind if I couldn’t pack up my wool sweaters and break out the sundresses. When the forest would usually be filled with a cacophony of frogs & toads, singing to find their mates at the vernal pool, there was silence. As chilly temperatures persisted, spring just seemed out of reach.
Then, all of a sudden, the Welcome to Spring sign was on the horizon. The magnolia tree outside the Visitor’s Center budded, bloomed and filled the air with perfume. I put on my sandals and rolled up my jeans. I felt the sweet relief of a my childhood, when I got to pack up all my road trip goodies and slip my shoes back on. With my window open at night, I could hear all the amphibians waking up and singing. Finally, spring!
Now that spring is here, I have to remind myself that I’m not going to make nature move any faster with my impatience. I want to take time to smell the flowers, watch the tadpoles and have my feet tickled by the ferns before I start getting antsy for summer. Hopefully, I won’t be writing a blog in June about how approaching summer is like my trip to the DMV.
Environmental Educator/Program Coordinator