The Spring Signs

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.

the spring signs

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) ย 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 Grunerlรธkka – 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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the fields of yellow
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Grandmother’s garden

What are the spring signs where you live? Do you use to collect them?

May you walk in beauty!

16 thoughts on “The Spring Signs

  1. Oh that last photo, you already have those pollen thingies on your trees! We still have nothing. (I’m allergic to pollen though so that’s the part I’m not looking forward to!)
    Interesting idea to visit the botanical garden at this time of the year. I tried to remember if we had one in Helsinki: yes, we do and it’s open to the public I think once a week, on Thursdays in the summer… (I might be wrong)… I have a feeling it’s probably not even open yet so early in the spring!
    As for weekend sun… yes, exact same thing here. We only had one of those days so far (just one! snif!), it was a Saturday and very uplifting. Not much wind, either.
    Loved the school trip story ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Yeah, the pollen thingies (I also wondered at their name ๐Ÿ˜†) are out. This is strange bc the buds are coming out only now. So late this year.
      Oh, the botanical garden at yours plays expensive ๐Ÿ˜† In Oslo it is open all year round, except at night. In winter there is nothing to see so my last visit is usually November. But then from now on it is always a thrill – something new every time. I love gardens and happy to have this one for myself))
      Oh, maybe, you should come to Oslo to get some Hawaii feeling, it seems we have more sun here ๐Ÿ˜† no, relax, the sun will come to you too. Now it is the light season. At last! ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป

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  2. I’m in the States now.. . . .It’s quite warm here in Chicago with lots of sun but a cool breeze. Flowers are blooming and everyone seems to want to clean up their yards to make ready for more flowers. Americans are barbecuing and eating summer food though it really is spring not summer. We are all very excited. There was snow last week but it seems ages ago now. โค

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  3. While the winter is not so drastic here in southern Spain it feels like spring has suddenly just announced itself… almost overnight the trees that were bare all winter are full of green leaves! The flowers have burst open! It’s quite lovely.

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    • It’s amazing how you can spot the spring signs in the southern Spain. For me the seasons are a bit blurred there. Especially when I found flowers in February in Barcelona. I mean: how do you know when it is spring, haha?
      It is one thing I am afraid I will miss: not the long winter, but the transition to spring. Do you feel it there?

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      • We definitely don’t feel it quite the same way. There are evergreen trees and some flowers all year round. But you can see a difference in the trees that lose their leaves in the winter suddenly sprouting new ones, or the city planting brand new rose bushes where it had pulled up the old ones in the fall.

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    • Yeah, it is kind of telling ๐Ÿ™‚ We miss only summer in this one, but this is why we miss it :)) there is still snow in some city parts and I see people with skis on the bus stop – but for now it is a snow-free season for me, and let us hope it will be lovely! :)))

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