The Miracle of Spring

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
~Margaret Atwood~

There’s nothing quite like the fragrance of the earth on a warm Spring day when plants begin to blossom.  It is the time of year when many trees and shrubs look as if they are most certainly dead but then suddenly they spring to life.  It is the miracle of Spring.

We begin watching for signs of Spring even as early as February 2nd when we look to see if the groundhog sees his shadow, and we hope he doesn’t because the legend says that if he does, he will be frightened  back into his den and we will experience yet another six weeks of winter.   I thought maybe any old groundhog would do for the shadow test but according to the inner circle in Punxsutawney, PA. any ground hog other than Phil are simply weather predicting imposters.

The word “Spring” itself is from Old English meaning “the place of rising or issuing as in a wellspring, the source of a stream or spring.”

Spring doesn’t happen at quite the same time every year.  According to Vernal-- you know-- Vernal Equinox?  He visits every year on March 20, or 21st, but the time and date vary slightly.

Seriously, the Vernal Equinox is the time that the sun crosses directly over the earth’s equator.  (The word equinox translated literally means “equal night”) When this happens, night and day are approximately the same length all over the earth.  This is how the official first day of spring is determined.

The reason for some confusion over whether it is the 20th or 21st of March is because it can happen on either day and it also depends on where you happen to live upon planet earth.  The calculations are not exact either and differ quite a few minutes according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.  It goes by the Gregorian calendar and also takes leap year into account.  The time is computed in Universal Time, which gives the time for the Vernal Equinox this year as March 21, 2007, at 12:07 A.M.  To calculate the time for where we live here in the Central Time Zone, five hours should be subtracted from Universal Time.  That means that Spring happened here in Missouri on March 20, 2007, at approximately 7:07 P.M.

Although Spring is officially here, we have yet to see very many days of mild weather that we can really get out and do something in our gardens and yards.  As Henry Van Dyke said, “The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”

The word, “Spring”, even has a cheery ring to it that makes us feel more energetic and we long to get outside and plant something, anything, even if it is just a flower in a pot, so we don our jackets and search for signs of spring.  It doesn’t take long to see the buds on the trees, the Johnny-jump-ups, daffodils, and other tips of green plants pushing through the soil.

Everyone tends to anticipate the warmth of Spring weather and begin to think about planting season.  Folks can be heard talking about Spring and some try to out do each other with how early they expect to plant potatoes or radishes in their gardens.

One overachiever that I know, plants tomatoes in March and puts an old tire over each plant.  He puts water inside the curve of the tire and then covers it with plastic.  As the tomato grows, he just adds another tire to adjust for the height.  When the weather permits, he removes the tires and has a tomato plant nearing maturity.  He is always sure to have the first ripe tomato to brag about to his friends.

We all tend to get anxious for Spring to arrive, especially if it has been a hard winter.  After being snowed in for a few days, cabin fever sets in and we long for Spring.  We even begin to think about mowing the yard, having forgotten all about how tired we were last year from mowing every week.

In Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book, The Secret Garden, young Mary Lennox’s guardian, Mr. Craven, asks her if there is anything that she wants such as toys, books, or dolls.  Mary’s reply takes him by surprise when she simply asks him, “Might I have a bit of earth?”  When Mr. Craven asks the reason for her unusual request she says, “To plant seeds in--to make things grow--to see them come alive,"

Perhaps that is why we yearn for Spring.   It could be that we all long for a peaceful, verdant garden.  After all, life began in a garden.  It could be that we, like Mary Lennox, want a bit of earth “to plant seeds in—to make things grow—to see them come alive”, and to observe the miracle of Spring.

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!
~Robert Browning

~ Pamela Perry Blaine ~
© March 2007

About Pamela:  She enjoys writing, music, and country living.  She writes"Pam's Corner" for the local newspaper and many of her writings have been published on the internet as well as in several books.

Pam says, "I have loved music and writing ever since I can remember. I play piano at church and I'm an avid reader. One of my goals is to be able to write for my children and grandchildren so special memories will not be forgotten."  She has a CD entitled "I'll Walk You Home".  If you would like one, they are available by freewill donation.  More information as well as a clip from the CD is on her website at

[ By: Pamela Perry Blaine, Copyright © 2005 ( -- {used with permission} ]


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