Many cultures, countries, and communities have traditions and/or festivals to celebrate Spring. This makes perfect sense because it can be hard to survive Winter, the harshest season of them all. If you do, that’s reason to celebrate.
Granted, winters are no longer a life and death proposition for most of us, as they were for many of our rural farming forefathers, but I think it’s in our very genes to get restless and excited when the world starts to feel warmer and less dreary. Whether you bother to call it Spring Fever or not, there’s just this feeling of change that is hard to ignore. Flowers are blooming and many of our animal neighbors are reproducing. Yay!
The 40 years I lived in Florida, I dearly missed Spring and Autumn. They don’t really exist there, and it felt to me as if something were missing. You get a very different sense of the passage of time when you don’t have seasons. The years can seem like an endless plod through unrelenting heat in Florida, whereas in more seasonal climes, the years are broken up into bite-sized pieces, and therefore seem to go by much more quickly.
I have a theory that the harsher your Winter, the more you welcome Spring. I know that Seattle Winters are relatively mild, if you compare them to Fargo, North Dakota for example, but they still come as a bit of a shock to me. Yes, we usually only get a few days of snow, but the amount of daylight is reduced by a startling degree, and even when it’s broad daylight, we can go weeks on end being socked in by grey clouds and cold weather. Meh.
So when that vernal equinox rolls around, I’m ready to get out there and welcome Spring in all its glory. This year, Dear Husband and I observed an annual tradition that we came up with 4 years ago. We visited the Quad of the University of Washington here in Seattle, to wander amongst the cherry blossoms and bask in their beauty.
Even in years when the weather has been kind of crappy, we still observed this tradition because there’s just some strange level of peace and contentment that seems to settle upon us when we commune with those gorgeous trees. There’s nothing quite like it. If you could distill Spring and then pour it out of a bottle at will, it would immediately reconstitute itself in the form of these cherry trees, no doubt about it.
We are rarely alone on the Quad during blossom season. In fact, it’s often quite crowded. If the weather is nice, people bring picnic baskets. They also bring their dogs. This year one young lady even brought her pet rabbit on a leash. Despite the crowds, people are usually talking in hushed tones, and even the dogs know not to bark (usually). The pervading feeling is awe. There’s a certain humility that settles over my soul when I contemplate the fact that nature can create so much beauty and I could never even come close to doing something this majestic myself. What a gift.
So I’ll leave you with some of the pictures we took a few days ago. And if you can’t visit the campus yourself, you can at least check out the live Quad and Cherry Blossom Cam. Enjoy!
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