Why Bother Being Grateful for Spring?


Why Bother Being Grateful for Spring? 

It seems that suddenly, winter gave way to spring. The snowbanks melted, the sunlight grew warmer and the daylight longer.  Like a dog that naturally sheds its winter coat when the weather warms, spring invites us to lighten up and move into spring. 

     A Season of Change

An increase in daylight hours along with the warmer air brings people out of their houses. From the second story window where I sit at my desk to write, I can view an expansive public park with soccer fields and walking paths. December through early March, these fields and pathways are desolate. Blanketed with snow and ice, few people venture out to walk on these paths. But now that the walkways are ice free, people have reappeared. Kids on bikes or scooters, couples walking their dogs, and joggers now enjoy the spacious green area from dawn to dusk. 

During the cold dark months of winter, there was no happy chirping heard from birds or the playful scampering of our resident squirrels. Instead, songbirds migrated, and squirrels hunkered down deep into their leafy nests. But now our backyard wildlife is active once again. The birds have returned, and the air is filled with the male voices of robins, sparrows and swallows singing their mating songs. The squirrels, no longer curled together for warmth in their nest, chase each other across the lawn and up and down tree trunks. Recently, my husband and I spied a squirrel lying on a branch in one of our trees just to warm itself with the rays of the morning sun. 

Spring also calls for a change in our wardrobes. Fur lined boots, wool hats, and cumbersome coats are shed for lighter wear. Dark green sweaters, black leggings and brown long-sleeved dresses are replaced with the lighter colors of yellow cotton shirts, blue capri pants and orange skirts. This simple change, from heavy to lighter weighted clothes along with the brighter colors is enough to make me smile.

Spring also brings anticipation for the future. Possible projects around the house are planned—rooms that need repainting or furniture that needs restoring, along with garages and storage sheds that need clearing out. Early spring is the time many gardeners start their garden seeds indoors whether flowers, herbs or vegetables. 

Our diets usually lighten up as well. Spring is the time we replace those starchy, comforting casseroles for the many different varieties of salads. And finally, spring is the time to get back outdoors. Whether a walk around the park, a bike ride, kicking a soccer ball or strapping on some roller blades, it is time to get out and get moving.

Why bother being grateful for spring? The daylight is longer, the air is warmer, the birds are singing love songs and we’ve shed our heavy winter wear for colorful outerwear. It is worth it to enjoy the season of spring and all of what it brings. 

Why Bother Noticing Autumn?

Why Bother Noticing Autumn?

Summer is now officially over and Fall, my favorite season, has begun. The sky turns a deeper shade of blue, the heat from the sun mellows and the deciduous trees begin to show hints of red, and yellow. Although I know Autumn is the prelude to winter, I do not think too far ahead. Instead, I savor this particular season for all its glorious beauty. 

        What Autumn Offers?

Autumn begins on September 22 and ends on December 21, when winter equinox begins. Columbus Day, Halloween, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are some of the memorable holidays we get to celebrate along the way. 

The sun takes longer to rise and now a harvest moon or headlamp lights up my early morning jogging path. I’ve exchanged my running shorts and t-shirt for warmer layers and condensation from the chilly air collects on my fleece. The smell of cold damp air replaces the scent of warm asphalt.

I no longer walk around outside in bare feet or sandals. Instead, I crave the warmth of socks and shoes for my toes. Our summer diet of grilled fish and white wine dinners at our picnic table in the backyard change too. Now I cook heartier foods like spaghetti, and chicken soup. A glass Cabernet Sauvignon replaces the chilled chardonnay and we sit inside, where it is warm.  

The hummingbird feeder is stored away until next summer and the empty space at our window is instead filled with the color from our next door neighbor’s maple tree. Like a fall bouquet of color, I get to enjoy it until its leaves fall to the ground. 

Summer is behind us with its long luxurious days of sunshine. Now there are only brief moments of warmth in a twenty-four hour period. Though I want to capture some of these sunny September moments and bring them out again in January, I know I can’t. So instead, I am motivated to drink in all that I can of what Autumn offers me right now. 

Why bother noticing Autumn? It is worth noticing the obvious beauty of Fall and storing up its images in our minds because soon enough it will be replaced by the harshness of the winter season.

Why Bother Noticing The Best?

Why Bother Noticing The Best Things?

Are the best things in life really free? If we pay attention, there is a lot of goodness that can be gleaned from our world that is priceless. What puts a lasting smile on our faces cannot always be ordered online and delivered to our front porch in a box. What warms the cockles of our hearts is not necessarily something manufactured in a factory and imported from across the ocean. Felt happiness, I think, comes without a price tag, cannot be measured by an economic formula and is exempt from taxes. The best of life, I believe, comes when we notice what naturally surrounds our everyday lives. 

     The Good, The Beautiful, The Priceless

Though I took an astronomy class in college, I still cannot name or identify more than two constellations, the Big and Little Dipper. To view these two marvelous configurations,   all I have to do is look up into the dark sky. The season does not matter; winter, spring, summer or fall, these stars that form the shapes of dippers are always there for us to see. Staring up at them reminds me that although the world I live in is unreliable and constantly changing, the One who created the universe is not. 

Living in an environment surrounded by forests, lakes and mountains offers beauty to behold every day. It costs nothing for me to sit on a bench and stare at the view of the vast lake I live near. A hike up a mountain with a sack lunch more than satisfies my appetite for peace and quiet. Natural hot springs abound along the shores of certain rivers. Sitting in a pool of natural hot water not only softens my skin, but relaxes my whole being. Anyone can afford a free spa with a majestic view.

Even without a hike to the hills or a warm soak in a hot natural pool, my backyard offers priceless wonders. The sight and sound of a hummingbird, the screech of an osprey or the sight of an eagle. Though our bird feeder is filled with food for the chickadees, I often witness the deer feeding from there too. 

If you happen by our house on a summer evening, you would find my husband and I on the back deck engrossed in a round of Rummy or our faces in a good book from the library. For the most part, our entertainment does not involve the use of a credit card.

So why bother noticing the best things in life? It is worth noticing what is priceless because what is priceless is most likely more lasting.

Why Bother To Regard Recreators?

Why Bother To Regard Recreators?

Of the fifty-three million acres of land in Idaho, twenty million is national forest. With forty percent of the land dedicated to maintaining seven national forests we could say that Idahoans love the out-of-doors 

Inside those national forests are campgrounds, hiking trails, rivers, lakes and streams. Miles upon miles of dirt roads lead to trail heads that take you deeper into wilderness  areas. And the deeper you go, the wilder it gets.

These national forests are open to the public and anyone and everyone is welcome, yet we all have our own ideas of how to recreate in the great out-of-doors.

Not Everyone Has The Same View of Recreation

How we spend our time recreating or refreshing ourselves, I think, depends on our point of view or from where our view of nature comes from. Mine started with my Dad. 

My father liked sitting on the porch swing after dinner to smoke a cigarette. Being the youngest daughter, I usually found myself on his lap instead of in the kitchen helping with the dishes. When thunderstorms rolled in we stayed put on the swing, under the shelter of the porch roof. As the air chilled and the leaves rustled in the breeze, Dad tightened his arms around me and we watched the performance together. The dusky evening turned black, lit by flashes of lightning for seconds at a time. Next came the low rumble of thunder that sounded as though God was rolling a giant bowling ball across the floor of heaven. The boom that followed, a strike, always made me jump. Finally, splats of rain hit the porch roof and sidewalk, slow at first and then increasing with volume and velocity. 

The storm’s intensity never lasted long before it moved on to the next county. Then the air warmed again, the light of dusk returned, and the sounds of crickets replaced the thunder. 

Watching those storms with my father taught me that nature is powerful and beautiful at the same time.

Later, when we moved to Colorado, I’d fall in step beside one of my older brothers and we’d cross the county road that ran in front of the house, traversing the endless game trails. Or, we’d cross the highway behind the house to walk along the shore of the West Animas River. Wherever we went, I smelled the scent of pine trees, heard the river rushing over rocks and felt the sun on my skin. From my brother, I learned how simply one can enjoy nature. 

After marriage, and while raising sons, my husband and I took them on hikes into the mountains to swim in the cold lakes or to rocky points where we sat and stared at vistas that stretched for miles. It was our way of introducing them to the power and beauty of nature and simple ways of enjoying it. 

There are lots of ways to recreate. Some prefer to fly fish in a river while some elect to float down the water in an inner tube. Some favor the idea of camping in a tent, others would rather take their motor-home. Power boats and wave runners share the same waters as kayakers, and swimmers. And hikers may find themselves on the same trail as motorcycles. 

However we choose to enjoy the great-out-doors, perhaps it would be a good idea to remember that nature does not belongs solely to anyone, rather it is something lovely to share.  

Why bother to regard recreators? It is worth it to regard recreators since we all have something in common. We simply want to enjoy the beauty and power of nature from whatever point of view we view it.