Solving Spring

Ah, spring in South Carolina–a time of sunshine and flowers, birdsong and bunny rabbits, pastel colors and jelly beans, the time of year you spend many a cold, gray dismal winter day dreaming about. Everyone loves spring,* and who can blame us?

fancy hummingbird

But there’s something that’s always bothered me about the promise versus the reality of this wondrous season, so I decided to sit down and really do the math on spring. It’s taken me years of observation and calculation, but I think I finally have springtime in the South figured out.

First, you add together all the days that fall between February and May. Subtract the ones that are cold enough to feel like winter and the ones warm and muggy enough to feel like summer, and you’re left with a handful of Goldilocks days, where the temperature is just right. Hold off on that porridge, though, because we haven’t reached the bottom line just yet.

Next, take away the days when you can’t go outside because of torrential downpours, hazardous winds, sudden hailstorms, life-endangering lightning, suffocating levels of pollen, and/or hordes of invading canker worms. If you work inside, subtract all the weekday hours you spend chained to your desk.

What you have left at the end of this long equation is equal to the quantity of perfect spring weather you get to enjoy each year. Results will vary with geography and canker worm tolerance, but in my extensive studies and calculations, that amount of time averages approximately forty-two minutes. The time-you-spend-daydreaming-about-spring to time-you’re-outside-enjoying-spring ratio is about four thousand to one.

But brace yourselves and make your preparations now, my friends, for it seems we may get to experience a rare window of winning spring weather this weekend.

dog hiker

I hope you get to take advantage of it, to go outside without a jacket on and spend some time just sitting under your favorite tree, listening to a chorus of birdsong. I hope you breathe in sweet, gardenia-scented air, and that you notice a thousand different colors in the sunlit strands of your hair, blown by a soft breeze in front of your eyes, while a baby lamb wobbles up to you and nuzzles your hand for a pet. If you feel something gently brush across your face, I hope it’s a freshly fallen cherry blossom or the wings of a beautiful butterfly.

But maybe don’t open your eyes to check, because it’s much more likely it’ll be a canker worm.

 

*Everyone loves spring, with the possible exception of T.S. Eliot. But I hope he changed his mind and came to love it after realizing that he owes spring a lot. “January is the cruelest month” wouldn’t have won him any Nobel Prizes.

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