(Not to worry, there are still dancing stories to be told. I just find that I have to write about other things from time to time)
I don’t think I’ve made a secret that winter is not my favorite time of the year. I love the warmth and freedom and green of summer. I’ve tried to accept that winter is just a test for me – to have the patience to just grind through it knowing that it can’t last forever.
But this time as winter slips away and signs of spring start to appear is a little magical. Nature has so many ways of giving you signs of hope if you know where to look and what to look for. It is just the natural cycle and it doesn’t mean that winter is over once it starts but it does mean that winter’s days are numbered and the earth is returning to life.
Yesterday, while walking Rocco, we had three flights of Sandhill Cranes go overhead. They are beautiful birds and they tend to fly so high that you would normally miss them except they have a distinctive call which they seem to use a lot on their flights. I know some of them winter in Florida (lucky birds!) and our state is on the flight path as they had back to summer grounds farther north. Ironically, we are even flyover country to birds. I know they make many stops on the trek north and south so they do tend to rest here on the way up. Whatever is driving them is telling them that its time to head north.
And we have the geese. I know most people see them as a nuisance which they certainly can be. But we build retaining ponds and lovely manicured lawns and they are shocked when waterfowl use them as nesting grounds. Well the geese have been here for a bit but now I can see pairs of them in various spots looking for nesting sites.
I’ve got daffodil bulbs poking up through the ground and there looked to be buds on some of the shrubs at the park on Sunday. More signs will include the first sightings of vultures and red winged blackbirds and when robins and bluebirds become more numerous. Also, the male goldfinches will come out in their bright yellow spring feathers. And there will be the red buds and dogwoods and other flowering trees and shrubs. Color and life everywhere. Yes, you can say that it happens every year and it does but that still doesn’t take away the magic for me. We go from a lifeless canvas of browns, blacks and whites to the world in living technicolor.
We also just had Chinese New Year and I know that varies from year to year like Easter since it is based on the moon. It occurs to me that New Years resolutions might be more successful if people waited until Chinese New Year to make them. If your goal is to exercise more, who wants to go out in the dead of winter. But as spring comes and it gets nicer and stays lighter later, maybe it would be easier to stick with it. I suppose it might go over most people’s heads but you’ve got so much rebirth and renewal going on around you so you too can change and experience a new beginning.
Besides there are so many people who experience a little SAD during winter and that would just seem to make it so much harder to really stick to plans to change.
If I were going to go farther, I’d jettison New Year’s Day all together and just go with the lunar new year. You’d be spared that awkward week between Christmas and New Years where everyone leaves the decorations up even though they aren’t appropriate for New Years. And, you get two holidays in a row and then you’ve got to grind through all of January and probably February until you get closer to Easter. Don’t even get me started on Valentine’s Day which is just a corporate conspiracy to sell chocolate, flowers and cards. I know we also have President’s Day but that’s only a holiday for schools, banks and the government. I don’t know why we went away from Washington and Lincoln’s birthday. I know we’ve had some good presidents but we’ve had some lousy ones too who really don’t deserve a holiday so why lump them all in together. Of course, this “holiday” really just seems to be an excuse to sell furniture and mattresses. Oh and you’ve got St Patrick’s Day but once you are too old to drink heavily, it kind of loses its appeal. But if New Years was some time in early to mid February, you’d space out the big holidays and you’d help break up the winter. OK, now I think I’ve gone too far.
Let’s go back to the beginning. There are signs that spring is coming and that makes me happy. Plus, we are leaving on Saturday to a place that is summer all year round and that makes me really happy.
I like Louisiana culture very much. So many Catholic traditions woven throughout. The Christmas trees go up on Christmas Eve and come down after the 12 days of Christmas, which is January 6. Then comes the Mardi Gras season: balls, parades, beads, parties… The state university system isn’t even open for Fat Tuesday, probably because too many students and teachers wouldn’t show up anyway because parades and beads and parties LOL