This morning I woke up to the cardinals singing outside my window before the break of dawn. The sky was visibly gray, and I wondered if I’d get to see the sun rise. I didn’t. It waited until later in the morning to shine on my porch and usher in the highest temperatures we’ve had in months. But when it came out, it was wonderful! Welcome to spring in the northern hemisphere, everyone – the equinox – the halfway point between the longest day of the year and the shortest.
I’m finding it particularly weird watching nature’s spring unfurl (bringing new green leaves to the trees and shrubs, an abundance of wildflowers, and frenetic activity of birds, butterflies, and other insects as they emerge from their winter spaces) while also watching our human-designed world shut down, hunker down, and isolate during this pandemic. It’s a stark and peculiar contrast, as uncomfortable as a splinter in a toe. Yet, it’s a marvelous thing to see so many people taking advantage of their social distancing to get outdoors.
The spring growth and rituals of nature are a welcome antidote to the physical and mental challenges of social distancing, new sanitation and hygiene practices, and waiting for the virus to hit closer to home. People are getting it. Nature is a good healer. Yesterday, the parking lot at one local hiking trail was overflowing, so we had to find a different place to hike.
Today we went to a little-known trail and found ourselves completely alone. On our walk we saw so many more insects than during the past couple of weeks. They are really starting to come out in great numbers – orange sulfur butterflies, plant hoppers, beetles and bees of all kinds. They truly bring the forest and meadows to life, providing food for other animals, pollinating plants, and showing the world their bright colors and well-adapted behaviors.
And while the bugs and birds provide plenty of color and fun, the seeds and flowers of trees are just as spectacular to behold.
Getting outdoors for a walk or hike s a great, cheap, healthy activity for all of us during these times. It’s easy to maintain social distance and provides exercise and fresh air, and it’s good for our spirits. My only fear is that so many people will be using our pubic parks and spaces that we may end up over-using/loving them to death. So, when you go out there and hike or walk in the woods or in a park, be gentle. Take care of those natural resources that are so important to us all right now.
Happy Spring Equinox, loves. Smile!