The first hints of springtime are still a few weeks away, but I already feel my spirit start to lift at the longer light during the day, the higher cast of the sunlight through my windows and the calendar being mere weeks away from the equinox.
I remember spring as a child. Growing up in a colder valley, the winter months were darker and icier and snowier than where I live now. Those first few days of thaw that brought in the scent of spring were treasures beyond measure: urging my mother to boot her kids outside after digging in the trunk for the spring jackets. We donned these light coats with glee and waiting impatiently for Dad to grab our bikes from the shed. They were dusty and creaky. We’d wipe them down, he’d oil up the gears. It was never fast enough for us, my sister and I anxiously watching all the other neighbourhood kids riding circles around the street.
Finally, he’d roll the bikes over to us and away we’d go. Usually there were still dirty snowbanks reluctantly hanging on, little overhangs of ice along the gutters as the melt rushed along underneath. We’d ride and crack the ice and crumble the snowbanks, getting our bike legs back, the melted ice spraying our backs with mud.
The one thing that I remember the most is the popping sound of the gravel under my tires as I pedaled endlessly around our street. The sand left behind from the gravel trucks puffed up behind us and the tires would shoot bits of rock away. The crisp tings and pops of the stuff ricocheting off the edges of our tires were the sounds of spring to me. The chickadee’s song came later and made my spirits soar like no other, but to this day when I hear the crunch and pop of gravel under a bike tire, I am again a 10 year old girl, hair in pigtails, cruising Mountain Ash Crescent on my banana seat bike, feeling that cool air stream over my face. I can taste the dust, I can hear the shrieks of laughter, I can feel the grips in my hands. It brings me joy to this day of unequaled strength, a mystical remembrance of days gone by that are still alive in my heart.
So keep the faith my winter friends. In just a few short weeks, that wind will change from icy to fresh. Our windows will be flung open and the birds will dance with glee. And on those days, I wish you nothing but child-like joy in welcoming Spring back to us.