Tulip field

Happy Spring!

My mood lifts with each additional minute of sunlight. Birds build nests on budding tree branches. Crocus, daffodils, and tulips, each in turn, reveal their spring colors. The cherry trees suddenly explode into blossom covered beauties. If you live in Seattle, it’s time to put down the hot chocolate and throw off the warm blanket. Sorry, I can’t vouch for other places.

In Spring the world yawns, stretches, and wakes up-despite Daylight Savings Time. That’s just a twisted form of sleep deprivation. Sports fire into action, March Madness, Spring Training, Little League. Players return to the soccer fields. Outdoor community activities reappear, 5K races, festivals, and farmers’ markets. Affordable stalks of asparagus and fresh peas arrive at the grocery store. Even though they are available year-round, aren’t they tastier in spring? I’m inspired to open the windows, tackle some chores, and hurry outside for my walk.

I take a brisk walk almost every day. It started out of necessity. My dogs insisted. Although they are no longer with me, the walking habit stuck. When I left the suburbs for the city, fellow dog owners acted as the welcoming committee. Friendships gradually formed-dog encounter by dog encounter. On rainy, winter days we acknowledge each other with a nod or quick hello, but in spring, we have time for a catch-up chat.

Near my condo I can stride through parks, along the waterfront, or up and down Seattle’s outdoor staircases. My view might be of the Space Needle, the ferries on Elliott Bay, or the outdoor SAM sculptures. As beautiful as it is, in the winter my enthusiasm to be outside wanes. The sun disappears for days at a time. The sky and water remain a dark, dreary grey. If the rain isn’t falling in a drenching downpour, it’s filling the air with a damp, bone-chilling mist. I’d rather enjoy a hot coffee in a toasty café, but I walk anyway. I also resemble an REI ad for waterproof jackets and hiking shoes.

I’ve lived in South Dakota and Wisconsin, so I understand snow and bitter cold. The temperature might be above freezing in Seattle, but it’s still winter. The actual snow usually stays in the mountains, which is good for skiers, snowboarders, and our summer water supply. If even a trace amount falls in Seattle, the traffic descends into chaos. I guess that’s not unusual. Once a truck full of frozen fish flipped over and blocked a key roadway. The traffic snarl lasted for hours.

Since the temperature seldom drops below freezing, Seattle stays green. Some plants even flower. Moss covers everything, sidewalks, roofs, lawns. Weeds grow by the foot almost overnight. There is no winter respite from yard work, but don’t venture into your mud-soaked garden without gloves, boots, and an emergency contact.

The first flicker of spring arrives in February at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. Full scale gardens are built inside the convention center. Evergreen trees loom over water features. Tricked out patios encourage dreams of summer barbecues. The beautiful floral displays can almost make you believe it’s not raining outside. Yard tools are demonstrated, gardens are plotted, and plants are sold. We catch early spring fever. I traded my yard for a deck, but even I filled my planters with primroses and pansies. Check out the garden show website if you want to see why.

There’s no better place to celebrate spring than at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Although the peak viewing dates depend on the mother nature, the festival takes place each April. Visitors can tour the farms, buy flowers, and snap breathtaking pictures of miles and miles of blooming tulips. If you visit on a weekday, you’ll avoid miles and miles of traffic. Click here for 2018’s schedule of events.

The sun is back! Summer can’t be far behind. Now, where did I stash those sunglasses?

Has spring sprung in your area? Share your favorite spring thing in the comments.

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