Copyright © 2006 Henrietta W. Hay
Spring Springs--Sort of
April 7, 2006
"Listen buds, it's March twenty-first
Don't you know enough to burst?
Come on, birds, unlock your throatsĄ
Come on, gardeners, shed your coats!
...And come on, lambs, in frisking flocks!
Salute the vernal equinox."
So said Ogden Nash one spring day, probably on the east coast somewhere. Here in western Colorado the buds are already bursting, the gardeners are gardening and the lambs are frisking.
Of course Nash didn't understand that in Colorado that first balmy, spring like day comes in the middle of winter and fools us every year. Colorado Spring is an oxymoron. Today it is spring. Tomorrow it will probably be winter. Even so, the spirit of renewal starts to bubble in us that first day of perfect weather, and we convince ourselves that it will be different this year. Although the sun-earth relationship is the origin of the seasons on earth, it has nothing to do directly with the weather. The dates of spring are simply a matter of custom. No formal governmental body ever declared that spring begins with the equinox and summer with the solstice.
During that period of indecision on the part of the weather, we have snow and rain and hail and sleet and wind, and occasionally one of those wonderful, perfect days with the temperature just right and the sky the purest blue. The state climatologist says spring is the wettest season of the year in Colorado.
Right now my Montana friends think it is summer already and my Arizona friends are still in down coats. Robert Browning wanted to be in England, "now that April's there," so that's probably the official spring in his native land. In Colorado it is that brief interval between kind of chilly and very hot, which usually lasts about 48 hours in late May.
Spring is the season when the sap rises in trees and kids and there is not a thing we can do about either one. It is the time when the gardeners have started scratching in the dirt, the robins are getting fat and a late snowstorm comes along and buries everything in sight.
When I was a kid the people in Englewood dreaded my birthday in late April.
The question was not whether it would snow. The question was how much. The year I got my roller skates I had to wait a week to try them out. The Guinness Book of World Records reports that the record snowfall in one 24 hour period is 76 inches in Silver Lake, Colorado in April, 1921 -- probably the same year.
Sports fans get goofy when major league baseball starts and they barber the grass at Beer Field in Denver. College basketball teams work themselves up to the Sweet Sixteen and the Final Four Frenzy.
It is the panic season for fruit growers, who peruse the weather reports faithfully peer up at the sky every morning and keep their fingers crossed. They won't sleep very well until the final frost, whenever that may be this year
It is spring when Daylight Savings time comes along and knocks our biological clocks out of order and it is spring when the neck is broken on the swan on Grand Mesa.it is spring in Colorado when you can smell it. You can't describe it, but you can smell it.