When I was a little girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest, the first signs of spring were always found in the garden.
I have fond memories of visiting my grandmother’s house after school and dashing out in the chilly March rain to her backyard to look for the tiniest hints of green emerging from the soggy soil.
My grandma, who was blessed with a proverbial green thumb, enjoyed growing flowers from bulbs, and it always seemed that the cheerful crocus was the first one to peek through the dirt.
While there would still be plenty of rain and cold weather ahead, those tiny green shoots gave me hope that winter was officially ending and a new beginning was upon us in the form of spring.
Here in the Valley of the Sun, we have to come up with other ways to notice and welcome the coming of spring. While I’ve seen a few talented gardeners manage to successfully grow other traditional spring bulb flowers like daffodils and the occasional tulips, I have yet to find any crocus poking their way through the warm and dry desert soil.
Because of our temperate climate, people who have not been to the Southwest often claim that we don’t have a change of seasons, but I’ve always maintained that we definitely do—we are just a bit more clever about looking at it.
In addition to temperatures starting to warm up, local signs of spring also include the return of Spring Training, roses blooming to beat the band and, if you look closely, the tall and spindly Ocotillo desert plant just starting to send out tentative shoots of growth.
Another sure sign of spring can be found in our collective positive attitudes. As the late, great comedian Robin Williams once said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying let’s party!”
When March 20 rolled around and you realized that the official first day of spring had come, did you feel that little jolt of energy, adrenaline and hope? I know I sure did.
In fact, while January 1st gets all of the attention for its resolutions, new beginnings and promises of a shiny new year, I actually find that the start of spring lends itself to an even better fresh start.
Maybe it’s because I’m too tired from all the copious and wonderful celebrating in December to really appreciate all that a new year has to offer, or maybe it’s because—like the crocus and ocotillo—I know in my heart that this is the perfect time of year to focus on new and wonderful positive changes.
Hey, if Mother Nature uses this time of year for new life and beginnings, who am I to argue?
So while the rose bushes are going nuts in your backyard and the Ocotillo are celebrating spring alongside freeways and medians, we should also feel free to revel in this time of year by embracing the promise of new life and rejuvenation.