A Spring in My Step

The first day of spring is still two days away, but I feel like It’s already arrived. An unmistakable aura of spring hovers above the lingering snow, bringing with it a sense of renewal and optimism.

I took my first walk along our rural road this week. Walking is unsafe in winter when snowbanks hem in the narrow road, leaving barely enough room for two vehicles to pass without clipping mirrors. A few days of milder weather?meaning a degree or three above freezing?has pushed back the snow enough to invite walking.

The day looks like spring with brilliant sunshine streaming from blue skies, but it feels more akin to winter. There’s a chill in the air and a wind strong enough to require leaning into. With a hat clamped firmly over my ears, warm gloves, and sturdy boots, I venture forth to experience the transition from winter to spring firsthand.

An indefinable spring scent swirls in the wind. The air doesn’t smell like anything in particular?perhaps a faint, earthy aroma?but there is a freshness that is not detectable in the crisp, sterile scent of winter. It smells like something…alive.

Spring sounds abound. I can’t identify every birdcall, but I can hear when the summer birds are back. More joyful songs and less nervous twittering. Even the year-round chickadees change their tune from winter’s aggressive “chickadeedeedee” to spring’s flirty “hey sweetie.”

Along my walk, I notice the water in drainage ditches is rising, while the snowpack diminishes. Winter’s collection of discarded coffee cups and beer cans emerge briefly from snowbanks, soon to be swallowed up in roadside grass. High above, tangled skeins of snow geese and orderly strands of Canada geese honk their way north.

Geese are one of the outstanding harbingers of spring. If geese can travel many thousands of kilometres during their migration, then anything seems possible. Spring brings a sense of renewal and instills purpose in my life. Motivation, which flagged as winter ground on, seems limitless again.

Now spring is here, I feel full of renewed energy and resolve. Even while the snow lingers, I’m planning?and looking forward to?outdoor chores and gardening. Indoors, those spring cleaning tasks I’ve been dragging my feet on for weeks suddenly seem possible?and urgent. I have a hankering to clean, de-clutter, and organize.

There’s something about spring air that makes me want to work harder and dream bigger. I feel excited about my AU courses and optimistic about getting more done this year. Goals I’ve set somehow seem possible and challenges less daunting. Forget New Year’s resolutions; we should make resolutions in the spring, when renewal is in the air and many things seem possible.

Right now, my spring resolution is to walk more. Every day I want to get out and see what’s going on in the world?the real world, not the artificial one bound by my desk and computer. I want to fill my senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. I want the energizing, mind-clearing kick that fresh air and exercise provide.

Is it spring fever? Who cares? If the sight of melting snow and a whiff of fresh air can put a spring in my step and energy in my cells, then I’m happy to succumb.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario. Follow Barbara on twitter @ThereGoesBarb.

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