March 20

First Day of Spring (Northern Hemisphere)

 

When you were a younger child, the first day of spring meant you could spend more time outdoors than inside, your heavy coats replaced with a light jacket.  Youd meet friends for a bike ride, pack snacks for a picnic, spend long evenings playing horse or softball or hide-and-seek — wringing the last drops of pleasure from the day before the sun went down.

Spring brought better smells as flowers burst into bloom.  Brighter colors on trees and bushes, the grass turning a lush green after escaping the dry weight of ice and snow.

You were not one who took such things for granted.  You paused to smell flowers then, to watch the lazy graceful flight of a monarch butterfly.  You cleared off the birdfeeder in your backyard, filled the tray with fresh seed, and waited for feathered visitors to fill the air with song.

It was as if your younger self purposefully stored such senses in memory, in case they disappeared not just with the seasons, but for good.

 

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Now old before your time, you wish for sweet, warm rain to nourish the ground.  The things that are supposed to grow, will not.

The ground is too hard.  The air is too cold for buds to sprout on barren branches.

Spring cleaning now means you take out food that has spoiled, stack remaining rations on nearly empty shelves.

On a bleak, sunless day, you work with the few remaining adults to crack through a hard layer of ice, force shovels and picks through earth hard as rock, making holes too large for seeds or saplings, to plant the bodies of your friends.