I don’t know if the cause is global warming, El Nino, the Tea Party, or Vladimir Putin, but I had to cut the grass. This is March 7th. I usually do not start until May. Following the first crocuses, the first hyacinths have blossomed.
Regardless of whose fault the warm winter was, I did not miss the cold or snow. Even if it means more work, I am happy that Spring has showed up early.
Because this is positive, I expect someone or some group to take credit...
The North Atlantic Oscillation, often mentioned by me, has been kind to central Germany this year. England has suffered repeated buffeting and flooding, thanks to low pressure systems spiraling off the North Atlantic.. In the past, these storms usually came our way, but this year have veered off to the north.
Calendars inform me that it is February: deep in winter. The problem is that a glance out the window fools me. I see flowers begin to sprout in the garden. I planted these bulbs only a few weeks ago and did not expect to see sign of them until Easter.
I hope that winter does not come raging back, because these poor things might catch a cold. Farmers are already moaning about potential loss of crops, because too many, not having a calendar--believe that spring has arrived. Of course, a cold snap would put an end to the weeds, which have also returned early...
Get used to it: it's Spring....
Besides, this tree is significant. I use it to judge the punctuality of seasons. It has blossomed every year around the end of April/beginning of May, except the past few years, when it blossomed in mid-April.
People have complained about a cold advent of Spring, but it has been far more usual than the past year or two. Because I have the anchor point of a tree in my garden, I can judge climate deviations and not have to rely on emotion.
Hey, it's Spring. A lot's happening outside in nature...
Below are what's known as common primrose. I know this because I just looked up the German word in the dictionary.
Each year, these colorful flowers are sold in many places for decoration in the house or doorstep. When their time is up, most are discarded. Last year, I stuck a few in an out-of-the-way spot in the garden. Although the receive no direct sunlight and are ignored by me, they blessed me with their return to bloom, despite harsh winter. If I leave them alone, they might return each year...
Frühling is the word for Spring, although some use Frühjahr (early part of the year). This seems to be an apt post for this time of year.
Früh means early, and the suffix -ling is a diminutive, like -chen, making something “little”. (This is most-often used and most-easily understood with names: Gretchen is Little Greta.)
The word on display makes no sense, when you think about it. Does it mean “a little early”? And, “early” what? Early summer? By the way, a Frühchen, is a premature baby. Which means that Frühling makes even less sense.
Of course, some etymological research might answer these questions, but I’m too lazy and readers are surely not interested. Be happy that I have broadened your horizon and improved your knowledge of a foreign language. Let’s leave it at knowledge that Frühling means Spring, and that we can do nothing about the weather, either in German or English, which will continue to be seasonable or unseasonable whenever and wherever it damn well please.
I managed to remain standing and to talk for over three hours. Not being one of many spoken words, that is more than I achieved in several years. Most of the audience managed to stay awake and some even asked intelligent questions, which suggested interest and understanding. Gazing at the faces of these eager young students, I was reminded of how fortunate I am to have no responsibilities to face in some office, to have school behind me, and to not be faced with the need to find a job.
The best part of the day turned out to be the weather. Blue sky and sunshine greeted us upon leaving the conference center. Snow-capped mountains rose from the lake to provide a spectacular background.
The first crocuses decorated the park beside the lake in Annecy. Trees might still be bare, but there are enough hints to provide hope of Spring. The temperature remained cool and a wind occasionally reminded one of the actual season and the weather being dominated by a high pressure system to the north funnel Arctic air into central Europe. A walk beside the lake in the warm sun helped to erase thoughts of recent unpleasant weather. The trimmed plane trees stand ready to grow a new crown and shade the promenade beside the lake.
My first thought was about how awkward these trees look, but the sight of an untrimmed revealed the look of a hirsute hobo in bad need of attention.
All lakeside properties are ringed by walls and/or hedges. All have been growing for many years, so provide a decorative touch to the town. A pleasant surprise was to find a flowering bush, announcing impending Spring, mixed in an otherwise boring hedgerow. In Summer, when the buds have faded and the green leaves blend in with the rest of the hedge, summer visitors to the lake will not know how special this small bit was for a short time.
There is hope for the future (which is becoming shorter every day)...
Today was the first nice, warm day of the changing season. Longer days have suggested that seasons are changing, which is helpful to those without a calendar, iPhone, or access to television.
Not that anyone cares, but pleasant weather lured me into working in the garden. I bought a new hedge trimmer and needed to learn if I could use it without hurting myself. (I did.) Afterwards, I sat in the sun to marvel at my accomplishment and to read Lonely Planet on Vietnam. With our trip to Asia a little over two weeks away, I want to start looking forward to what I might see and experience. I am sure that the country will be different than it was during my last visit. The landscape will surely have less scars, and the people should be happier. There will be more traffic, less danger of being shot, and more-plentiful consumer goods. Although I never felt unwelcome (except once, which I will relate in a post, when we reach Nha Trang in a few weeks), I expect to feel welcome by the friendly people of a former “enemy”. Our respective governments taught/urged us to hate one another, so I am glad that this episode is over and we can move on to enjoying life. I will be happy to bring tourist dollars, and they should be happy to accept them.
Spring is a sneaky little bugger. If one does not consciously pay attention each day--even each hour--it has come and gone like a fast-moving train (for those unfamiliar with the concept, check out trains in Japan, Germany, and France).
The first signs are birdsong in the early morning hours, when most are asleep. The first visible signs are snowdrops and crocuses. Next, bright yellow forsythia bushes are difficult for even the disinterested to overlook, but turn to green before one gets used to them. Daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips follow in rapid succession, with the first fruit trees hot on their heels. Colorful varieties of cherry provide the most blatant announcement of the new season, causing even the blase to cast a glance at recently bare limbs. Closer observers will notice incipient buds on all branches, soon to unfold slowly each day into life-giving leaves.
If one does not pay attention to nature's unfolding spectacle, one will wake up one day to a mass of green and have to seek flowers in gardens. Many will ask: what happened to spring? Nature, like a good conjurer, has tickled its multi-faceted, multi-colored splendor out of soil, water, and air.
Since this old fool lives on a hill, I get to watch the change in season march up the hill from the flatland, extending my period of enjoyment. The show gets better each year, perhaps because I pay more attention...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.