Archived Story

Please, please let it be spring

Published 8:42am Thursday, March 7, 2013

The dark green spikes of grass trying to push their way through the soil in the front my house have been teasing me. So have the incessant bird calls outside of my house.

The sun has been the biggest taunt. Its warm rays drawing life out of the sleeping earth, calling me to come out of the house and spend as much time outside as I possible can, whether it be planting seeds or just sitting outside to enjoy the weather.

All of it makes me restless.

I’ve been tapping my fingers impatiently waiting for one of my favorite seasons to arrive.

To me spring has always been the true beginning of the year, a rite of passage into summer, fall and autumn.

Spring always tip toes into season, but this year it seems winter intends to hold its firm grip on us until the end.

Most never notice spring until the season is in its full splendor, with flowers in bloom and occasional shower.

Spring is a time for reawakening, not only for nature but for ourselves as well.

This time of year always brings memories of the past for me.

In the snow belt of upstate New York, spring is always a welcomed season. After the dark and chilly months of winter any sight of sun or green grass breaks the cabin fever New Yorkers are prone to get.

As soon as the snow banks begin to melt, upstate New York begins to come alive. Any excuse to get out of the house is good enough.

My grandparents were avid gardeners and one of the rituals of spring around their house was planting a garden.

The event was always a family affair.

Usually by till my grandfather would turn the dirt in the garden, readying it for planting. Then, one by one, each family member would place seed into the sun-warmed soil.

Corn, green beans, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, scallions and squash were just some of the produce we would grow.

While both of my grandparents worked together on yard work, the garden was my grandfather’s domain. Most of his life he spent outside in his yard, perfecting everything that seemed to be already perfect.

No visitor could leave without having the full tour of grounds, which included not only a garden, but several flower beds, trees and berry bushes as well as two small rows of grape vines.

My grandmother was usually the one who took care of the flower beds and house plants alike.

A 150 year old Christmas cactus that had been passed down in her family was her pride and joy, as well as a large flower bed that sat in the center of the backyard.

To me it was a symbol of my grandparent’s love for each other.

My grandfather had put in the flower bed as an anniversary present to my grandmother. In it she planted tulips and daffodils.

And every spring it produced hundreds of red, yellow, white and pink blooms.

And every spring she would tell each of her grandchildren to stay away from the flower beds and never to pick any of the flowers.

This, of course, was tough for all of us since it just sat there in the middle of their backyard, full of color and round like a big target.

During cool spring nights the flower bed was witness to childhood games like Tag and “Mother May I?”

As spring came to an end the flowers would drop their petals one by one, the heat of the summer bleached and dried what was left of the plant and by autumn the plants would be brown and yellow, ghosts of what they used to be.

Spring has a way of drawing out life and celebrating it.

I always want to plant flowers around this time of the year, just to begin anew and perhaps to remember the past.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.

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