Spring

e.e. cummings once wrote about spring as a “mudlucious” time.   Other comments about spring portray it as a time when young men’s fancies turn in an amorous direction; an increase in preening behavior in all species is noted.  While this represents a more congenial environment for all kinds of activities, there are also other signs worth noting.

I know spring is coming because there is more light, even if it is 10 below outside. Waking hours are longer and nights less burdensome.  During daylight the sun casts a welcome glow, not enough to go outside and catch a tan, but the south side of buildings radiate welcome warmth.

Snow when it does come, appears as a heavy wet blanket.  Always the decision then whether it’s worthwhile to shovel it or hope it will just go away.  No matter what you decide, the opposite course of action would have been the wisest.

When the snow disappears, it’s also time to take down Christmas lights.  All the labor that went into the arrangements ends. The last set from the second floor dormer will have to wait until all the snow is off the roof.  Schussing down the shingles to the shrubbery is for another time.

Looking out the window in the morning there is a notable increase in the traffic at the bird feeders.  The cats, grown fat and lazy, don’t stand a chance at grabbing anything.  At least fifty pounds of sunflower hulls will need to be raked up before the grass has even the slightest chance of growing.

Traffic from BSU also picks up.  Bikers, walkers, runners and roller-bladers with their Fort Lauderdale or Mazatlan tans take to the asphalt in increasing numbers.  Accompanying them are the splashier sports coupes with sunroofs open, mega bass rap music blasting and car heaters on high.

The compost pile behind the house brings in a few visitors.  These nighttime bandits, when satiated by the thawing remains of winter, migrate to the bird feeders and gorge themselves on sunflower seeds.  A light in the face from a flashlight does little to scare them off. They’ve been waiting a long time for this.

The final sign that things are changing is removing the 120 pounds of softener salt from the back of the truck, along with the coal shovel.  If done prematurely a price is paid in spinning wheels from a late snowfall.

Love, preening and mud may be poetic harbingers of a change of season.  If any of this fails to make an impression, then the water dripping on your head in the middle of the night from a forgotten ice dam most likely will.

Author: Doug Lewandowski

I have walked a varied path. I was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and Licensed Psychologist. I have a twice monthly column in the Duluth News Tribune and have had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in this year’s Jade Ring contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. I was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. I transplanted to Duluth to be closer to grandchildren.

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