Once, when I was working as a substitute teacher, in the beginning of my teacher career here, we took our second-graders to the local woods. To look for the spring signs. It was officially the subject of the class. To look for the first flowers, buds and bees, to listen to the birds. On return the kids had to fill out the form: “what have you seen and what have you heard?” The science teacher had warned them: “Don’t write “I have seen everything”, it is not interesting. Write what exactly you saw and what you heard (like birds)”. The smartest (or laziest) of them all wrote, of course, in their funny second-grader’s handwriting: “I have seen everything”. While others drew battle scenes from their fantasies. An early lesson on mindfulness. Failed? (Succeeded?)
I have caught myself in a pattern: every spring I go to the botanical garden. To look for the spring signs. After the long winter it feels like coming back to life. And when I see the first flowers, usually they come before the buds, I cheer like in some celebration: “It is spring again! The life has won again! We have survived this winter!” I guess, these emotions would not be understood by the inhabitants of the warmer countries where the season change is not so visible or not so important. But here in the North, where the country is covered in snow and ice for some five months, seeing the first signs of life is like waking up from the dead. For me it is an emotional thing. It seems that in the places where winters are long and harsh, the people are more keen to the change of seasons and are joyful about the spring arrival like no one else.
Especially this winter which has been unusually hard, long and snowy. Fun fact: I have heard that this year the city council didn’t plan the cleaning of snow into the budget because in the recent years there has been little snow. This year has been a record year, snow falling again and again. That’s why there was so much mess this year! Because Norwegians didn’t expect snow. How comical is that? And now all the sidewalks are full of gravel which is used on the snowy and icy streets. The snow has melted at last, and the gravel stays as the memory. Hope, it will be cleaned away soon. Did they plan this into the budget? (Really, sometimes it’s unbelievable that we live in the richest country of the world. Well well).
In the second week of April, after returning from Italy, I went to the botanical garden – to search for the spring signs. I was so happy to discover more of them. Though in some places the snow didn’t melt yet, and I was grumpily surprised, walking on it in my light sneakers. In the part called “The grandmother’s garden” (Bestemor’s hage) there was a lot of icy snow. And the name shields looked so lonely peeking through. But the first greens were bravely making their way through the snow. Viva la vida!
The sun has been amazingly warm the past weeks, showing its sweet rosy-cheeked face quite often. The biggest thing here is when the sun comes out on weekend. We were lucky to have a couple of those. And what happened to the city! It exploded with life which was nowhere to be seen in winter. People were everywhere, sitting in the parks, on every terrace, walking in crowds, t-shirts and shorts, like it was totally summer, though the wind was still cold. I have overheard a man talking to his daughter: “where have they been in winter, all these people?” And I thought: “Well, ask yourself. Where have you been?” It looked like the whole city, or the whole country, came to our neighborhood of Grunerløkka – to eat ice-cream, to sit in the park, to buy take-away food and share it on the huge stairs by the Food Court (Mathallen). The trash containers were overflowing with the packaging of foods and drinks consumed on this happy occasion – the weekend sun. These are the spring signs too 🙂
What are the spring signs where you live? Do you use to collect them?
May you walk in beauty!