Spring is a season when things change fast. If you watch closely, you can sometimes see the turning point – that particular day when winter’s inertia finally gives way to the compelling changes that come with spring. It’s the day when the grass turns green. It’s the day when the buds on the trees reach a critical mass, and as you look down your street you no longer see wooden skeletons, but the green, red, and yellow fringes of new growth and life.
While this transformation may seem to be abrupt and sudden, it is really is the result of long preparation. Spring is the season of rebirth, but rebirth is not a haphazard or random event. Rebirth comes when elements are mixed together, daring the universe with their potential, and awaiting the spark of warmth, the spark of light, the spark of Spring – that triggers the annual renewal of the earth.
When the skunk cabbage buds burn through the snow in late winter, they are laying plans for spring. When a tree buds out in February, it is making plans for spring. When the first green shoots push up through dried leaves on a cold March day – they are making plans for spring.
At the turning point, those plans are quickened and made real. It’s a not a grand event, not a planetary phenomenon, but rather each square foot of soil builds it’s potential, and then unleashes it when the turning point comes.
This year, here in the place where I am, things turned around 3:00 AM, Friday morning, April 24th. That’s when the first really warm air of the year arrived – I know that because it came in a grand display of thunder and lightening, that woke even me. Although the weather forecasters predicted that Thursday would be a warm day, it fell short and turned out to be a bit chillhy, a bit cloudy, and a bit like March. But once the storms rolled through on Friday moring, the night air warmed and the next day the earth turned green. All the plans that nature had laid suddenly came to fruition.
I visited some of my usual haunts in Cass County. The woodland wildflowers are truly at their peak. Hepatica is still standing, but has faded and is now rare. Anemone – wood, rue, and false – is everywhere. So too is Spring Beauty, Trout Lily, Dutchman’s Britches and Squirrel Corn. Isolated patches of Bloodroot still bloom, but in most cases this early spring flower is gone, leaving its leaves to grow to incredible size.
This is the sweetest time of year, when the trees are just beginning to bud out and have a faint glimmer of green to their branches; and when the forest floor is radiant green, sprinkled with the wildflowers. Looking ahead – Trillium is just staring to open and May Apple is just starting to unfurl it’s umbrella-like leaves.
Like I said, this is the turning point.