Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.
– Jessica Harrelson
As I write this in early March, the temperature is in the 30s Fahrenheit, the wind has a spiteful bite, and if you need to be outside, you’d better bundle up to make sure to keep the outside outside. The undiluted winter weather is not amenable. You have to put barriers between yourself and the elements.
But although the air is cold today, it is crisp and clear, and the sun is bright. The daily period of sunshine has been lengthening microscopically every day since the winter solstice last December. And now it’s getting to the point where it is noticeably brighter.
On March 20 we hit the equinox, which in Latin means “equal night.” It’s the midpoint between the highest point of the sun, which is June 21 in the northern hemisphere, and the lowest point December 21. On an astral level, the equinox is when the sun is directly over the equator, and the northern and southern hemispheres are getting equal amounts of sunshine.
But down here on earth what is significant about the equinox is that is the first day of spring!
Spring is coming! Even before I smell the sweet spring air and hear the joyous cacophony of bird calls, I can feel the vibrations, the fine hum of new life rumbling in the earth beneath the frozen crust, waiting to spring forth. Spring is the season of renewal, and I welcome it more than almost anything.
Who doesn’t love spring? I suppose there must be some curmudgeon somewhere who finds everyone else’s exhilaration in spring to be annoying. But it’s hard to imagine.
Spring is new life, the new baby, and the new baby is always the favorite. It is the beginning of the year, not by the calendar, but by nature itself. It is when life comes roaring back after the long, cold winter, when blades of grass shoot up through the snow, new leaves burst forth from the trees, and new baby birds and animals are born. The energy of new life charges everyone.
The same cosmic signals that trigger the stirring of the seeds and blossoms and the migration of the birds also affect us humans, because we are part of nature too. All these natural events are coded into our DNA and our genetic memory as well.
For me it’s time to pack up and go!
The Highway Calls
Springtime is the perfect time to travel. It’s that rare moment when the cold of winter lifts, animals come out of hibernation, and you can go out without a coat and feel perfect. The weather is no longer your oppressor, no longer requiring you to put thick barriers between yourself and it – no! It is weather that is perfect for human activity and well being.
The farther you go from the equator the more pronounced are the changes of season. When I traveled to Alaska I received an intimate tutorial about bears from a wilderness tour guide and I felt a kinship with them. They go into a deep sleep for months during winter, and then in spring they come charging out of slumber, renewed and ready to start fresh. That sounds like a modified version of my own behavior. I don’t actually sleep all winter, but I do go into a state of greatly reduced activity, a sort of modified hibernation.
Then after months of staying cooped up most of the time, I sense the onset of spring and it stirs the urge to travel, to move, to get out and go. It’s a great time to hit the road. Really any place you go in spring is at its best. Not all places have spring. Spring is a phenomenon of the temperate zones. Without winter, there is no spring. But for the places that have spring, spring is a great time to be there.
Spring is its own attraction, it adds to whatever the destination offers. Spring is the meteorological expression of exuberance. It will affect you wherever you are in spring.
When the temperature is around 72 Fahrenheit the outer environment is most totally in harmony with the inner systems. It becomes a joy just to be there, in the weather, to be experiencing the sun, the warm temperatures, what the Hindus call prana, the life energy inaudibly crackling in the air.
Where to Be in Spring
But you know it’s possible to miss spring. You could stay indoors, keep your nose to the grindstone, close the windows, draw the blinds, immunize yourself to the changing of the seasons. You could let it pass while barely noticing. It would be hard to totally block off awareness of the fresh spring air. But it is possible.
You have to be in it to win it. You can’t experience spring unless you get out in it, out in nature. Spring is not an indoor phenomenon, though spring does transform the world inside as well. It is so nice it invites you to open the window and let the weather come in. As Tolstoy wrote, “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” And what better spring project than a trip?
When it’s springtime, it is a joy just to be.
All across the temperate zone, this cosmic event is taking place on a colossal scale. The earth is erupting with new life. Anywhere you go you will experience that shimmer of new life. So in a way, you can’t miss. Every place is at its best in spring. You name it: New York, New Orleans, Osaka, Barcelona, Beijing, Yellowstone…
Since spring comes to you, you don’t have to travel to experience it. But there is no better way to fully experience the coming of spring than to travel to a special place for it. Some places are especially good for certain things. Every place that has spring is charged with that energy in spring, but some places are iconic and particularly good for creating a monumental memory that will always return with the perennial coming of spring.
As the song “April in Paris” describes:
I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace
Till April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
That no one can ever reprise
That visit will be one to remember always. Henceforth you will always know that you have not let your life go by without at least once experiencing spring to the fullest.
There is nothing more reassuring than spring. No matter what else is going on in the world, no matter how turbulent human affairs seem to be, no matter that even the weather itself seems sometimes to be having a nervous breakdown, spring will come again. It may be a little earlier or a little later, but it will come.
And when it does, that feeling of spring overwhelms whatever logic may have brought you to the conclusion that there is no hope of redemption for humanity. And hope comes pouring in again.
I wish you happy travels this spring.
Your humble reporter,
A. Colin Treadwell