The Rite of Spring

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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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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9 Responses to The Rite of Spring

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    My tomato seeds are sprouting.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Oooo, for a good tomato. You really can’t get them around here unless you grow them yourself.

      And you can tell this is a conservative exposé on spring because otherwise it would have been titled “The Right of Spring.” 😀

  2. steve lancaster says:

    Yes, spring is arriving with gusto. I was in Hot Springs last week for the races. On the drive down we stopped and wandered in the Ouachita mountains (for Yankees its pronounced Wash a tau). We came upon a little grove in which there were hundreds of daffodils blooming around a house size square. Although, there was no sign of past human habitation the daffodils are a sure sign that at one time a woman must have lived there. We can speculate that a family was raised on this ground. I do not know who, perhaps there is a small graveyard with stones, but I did not see one. One thing is certain sometime in the last 175 years people seeking land and the liberty to live on their own sweat and labor lived there and now they are gone, perhaps faded pictures on some wall are all that remains to remember them.

    Spring is sweet, poignant and the promise of the future.

  3. Pokey Possum says:

    Yes, indeed, the specter of our Northwest winter has revealed itself as spring! I was blessed to spend several sunny days amid that acre of heaven-on-earth helping to prune grapevines. If not making music, then working outdoors is what I was made for in this season of my life.

    It’s the same way with the woodpecker. When he is beating his beak against a tree he is doing what he was made to do, and even though it’s hard work he is satisfied to be a woodpecker. We are at our best when we live to the fullest the life God created and intended for us.

  4. Timothy Lane says:

    With weather becoming acceptable, I’m hoping that we can start walking outside again, and perhaps even resume visiting the Louisville Zoo (we’re members, but only made it there once last year).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Zoos are cool, especially the modern ones where there tends to be a lot of open spaces…both for the humans and the animals. I haven’t been to the zoo in years. The two main zoos around here are the Pt. Defiance Zoo in Tacoma and the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. I couldn’t tell you which one is better.

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