Midwest Spring Flowers
Midwest Living

Signs of Spring

“The spiders are back.” I’m standing on our neighbor’s porch, mug of coffee in hand, swiveling back and forth to check my own front door for any sign of trouble at home.  It’s a bit after three o’clock and the breeze is picking up like it does every day around this time but even with the wind it’s still warm for February. The spider scurries away and she moves to crush it but I stop her. “Don’t. They eat the mosquitoes. ” She laughs, giving me a look, a reminder that I am a square peg making no attempt to fit through a round hole. She lets it live, because I’m right. In a few months we’ll likely be standing in the same spot, sweating and ready for fall’s relief from the humidity.

By all weights and measures, it’s been a mild winter, even with a few more below freezing days in the forecast before the weather turns for good. After nearly five months of cold I find myself willing to participate in a good deal of unsavory things for a week of sunny 70-degree weather. A misplaced Californian’s own deal with the devil. Even so, my eye is more trained this year and it’s hard to deny the signs of spring. It’s not just the spiders. An occasional look at a blue sky and two days of sunshine in a row even if the temps never reached the 30s. A giant sinking sun, painting an idyllic background for a hundred geese commuting home in a notched and imperfect formation. Bunches of birds bouncing on bare branches, heads turned as they warble and fight over day old bread.

The birds and the bugs, and even the smallest break in the cloud cover are welcome reminders that everything changes eventually. The only constant is motion. Good, bad, or neither, nothing stays.   The heaviness of winter will lift, and following close behind will be an abundance. It will be a Midwest spring, a month long show as everything unfurls. Every morning a new flower, shoot or sprout, verdant and audacious. Laughing, having waited until we had nearly lost that last bit of hope to swoop in an remind us to have a little faith in the things we cannot see and teasing us for our moments of doubt while they slept under blankets of ice and snow.

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