by Brad Nelson 3/24/14
Here’s your background music for this blog post. It’s a little bit environmental wacko, but a little wacko after the long, dark winter is okay.
Spring is here, and it came to the Northwest without a lot of fanfare, which is typical. There is no abrupt shift. If anything, you go from a cold rain to a slightly warmer rain and everything pretty much stays green wherever you look, whatever the season. This non-event is especially so this year because we’ve had one of the mildest winters I can recall.
Winter doesn’t tend to get a lot of respect even in the worst of times. Roses commonly are blooming into December and by late January or early February, plants are itching to stretch out their chlorophyl. But spring is indeed finally here. My mother’s camellia bush was a riot of red blossoms two weeks ago. It looks much as it would in July.
I’ve been getting in some hiking throughout the winter, choosing those rare days when the sun was out. And it’s the presence of the sun, and very little else, that drives our outdoor habits in the Northwest. I have not doubt that if it was 10 below, the moment that sun peeked out after three weeks of gray drizzle, we would all be out hiking and biking as if the 4th of July picnic was just next week.
But with the coming of spring, we can stop pretending and start getting in some quality time out in nature. No conservative should do less. “Earth is the oyster and we are its pearl” as Helmut Lotti reminds us in environmental wacko tones. But there is much truth to that. We should get away from the Xbox, from the idiot tube, and even our books to go out and see the glory of this world.
So do your little dance around the Vernal Equinox and go out and see what you can see. I sat watching last weekend a red-headed woodpecker beat its beak against a tree looking for insects. Who could have thought to design such a creature? Beating your head against the wall repeatedly is the international sign for exasperation or lunacy. But the woodpeckers make a good living from it. There may be a lesson in that. Or not.
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