Warmth of spring chases icy winter

March 30, 2012 11:56 am
I’ve always contended that you can smell the changing seasons.

You can sense it almost before you know that the temperatures are changing its fare of icy cold fingers into the daily warmth of spring.

You can feel it in the air as you stand outside and view the still frozen ground.

The birds may give you a clue as they seem to suddenly fly wildly and chirp excitedly as though to tell you not to miss a wonderful event in store for each of us.

A changing season seems to offer and withdraw each of its different treasures, revealing them one by one rather than coming all at once.

If we were to awake one morning and find that all of the winter’s snows were gone and the yard full of flowers blooming in their maturity, I think I would have missed the transition from winter into summer. I’ll call it spring.

Spring is unstable to be sure.

It’s like a child testing the waters of adulthood yearning to be full grown and yet not stable of stem nor blooming with experience.

It was sometime in mid-March this year that I first noticed it.

I was walking along my sidewalk, bundled up in heavy coat and wearing warm gloves, with bare ground in the flower beds along each side, when spring touched my cheeks and assailed my nostrils.

“Here I am,” it called to me.

“I’m going to tease you for a while with gusty winds and snow to confuse you, but I’ll be busy readying the bulbs underground and send them upward through the soil when you aren’t looking. I’m readying the trees for budding and leafing even though right now they are bare and appear almost dead.”

I took a deep breath of warm air mixed with the cold, and I knew.

I had been told a secret.

I wondered if anyone else had heard.

It brought a smile to my lips to be so informed before the fact, for I was tired of the winter weather and longed for happy changes in my life.

By the time I reached my car, the air was chilled again, and I pulled my coat more tightly about me as I opened the car door and climbed inside for the warmth it afforded.

But, I wasn’t discouraged, for I had been given the message of renewal and something special just ahead.

That night it snowed again, but melted in the coming daytime.

I spotted the very tip of a floral promise just waiting for its cue to come on stage.

A new month comes into view this Sunday with the arrival of April and the promise of new life itself as we pass from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday in another week.

Take a deep breath, and be renewed.


They came by the dozens on a bleak March morning. It was hard to study any one of them because they flitted so.

From apple tree to Hawthorne tree to elderberry bush, gleaning leftover fruits and berries, the robins moved in a flutter of wings.

What was easy to follow were the bright orange breasts and black heads as they scurried in unbridled delight among their wonderful discovery.

In bushes nearest to the house, a lone wren, in more drab working clothes, appeared in obvious search of new nesting quarters.

A junco pecked seeds from a flower barrel.

It was a dowdy-looking little bird, not a wren and with a long tail, who came to check-out the available rentals in the forsythia bushes, then decided it was too-high-priced
a neighborhood and took to flight with only a cursory look.

A squirrel scoured the cherry tree.

And, through this scene of ongoing life, two stately deer lifted dainty hooves in tentative hesitation and then moved with assurance to their own bounty.

Sitting in my rocking chair with a first cup of morning coffee while listening to soothing music, the progress of life spread out before me, assuring me that while all things change with time, they repeat themselves in sequence.

Spring, early or late, comes again to each of us, young or old.


Veteran newspaperwoman Dorothy Swart Fleshman is a La Grande native. Reach her at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it