Springtime is time to get up and go.
Every winter I go into deep hibernation, and it feels like the world stands still. Intellectually, I know that spring always comes again, but it has no reality for me. It feels like it will be winter forever. I remain in that timeless mindset week after week until at some point, springs starts to flicker, to show its face again here and there. Then the signs become more frequent. Spring gradually gains momentum and at some point, it becomes undeniable that spring has beaten back the winter and is triumphant. Spring is here!
Every spring comes back with a roaring fanfare like the very first spring. The world is swept back to Eden. Spring is the beginning of the world all over again, and it’s the greatest show on earth. It’s far better than any movie or video. It’s an ongoing, multi-dimensional, surround sound, full color spectacle, that you not only see and hear, but you feel it, you experience it with your full being. With every breath, you take it in, you participate in it, and you merge with it.
For many animals, spring is migratory season, and for many people as well; I include myself in that subspecies. For me, spring is not truly realized until my first trip. Only then do I finally break the spell of cabin fever that has hung over me through the winter.
If I wait too long, while the spring gathers momentum, I experience a kind of tension and unease that keeps tightening until I finally make a break, pick up my bootstraps and change my environment. It feels like a sickness, but it’s just the urge to travel, welling up inside, a symptom of too much time confined. That’s what brought me to Vermont today, one of my favorite places to experience spring.
In Vermont, it’s a wide swing from the deep winter when the days are only eight hours long, to the peak of summer when days are more than 15 hours long. When spring comes back over that great expanse, it comes fast and strong, like a massive burst. It’s magical and splendorous, the display of nature as the world wakes from hibernation and comes roaring into summer.
I’m standing over the rushing water of a tiny mountain stream called Schoolhouse Brook. It runs down the mountainside and flows right next to the house where I am staying. The water cascades down stairsteps of boulders. As it splashes over each drop-off, it stirs up gurgling pools of bubbles that create an exquisite orchestration of soothing, rhythmic sound. Just to hear it induces a feeling of calm and comfort.
The sunlight falls in patches between evergreens and the bare branches of the deciduous trees onto the forest floor and the surface of the flowing water, where it sparkles. Each of these details enchants me as I stand quietly observing. This beautiful little place is private and unknown, as are countless special places like this around the world for people to enjoy the glorious procession of spring.
Here in Vermont’s Green Mountains, it’s still cool enough this morning to wear a jacket. As I pull the fresh air deeply into my lungs, I lift my head and feel pleasure as the sun warms my face. The smell of smoke from the wood stove inside puts a spicy twinge into the crisp mountain air.
Though I am alone here now, I know that I am sharing this moment simultaneously with millions of others who are doing the same throughout hemisphere, experiencing the rhapsody of spring, as I am.
Spring brings us out to explore and experience the world again. Thank you, spring! It’s time to celebrate the freedom of going out without a coat. The weather no longer assaults you, but caresses you affectionately. After surviving the hard winter, spring is joyous. It’s the climatic expression of joy.
It’s the time of year when people come out to play. The beautiful weather conditions put people in a good mood, and there’s an unspoken sharing among people who come outside to enjoy the new freedom of the season.
Spring is time to get moving again, and it’s also a good time of year to experience new places as springtime spreads across the hemisphere, bringing beauty in its path. It’s an exhilarating time, a good time of year to visit almost any place you may ever wish to visit. During spring, every place is at its best, surging with that spring energy and overflowing with bounteous beauty.
The tulips turn landscapes of Holland into bright rainbows. Cherry blossoms adorn the trees in Japan, just as they do in Hoboken, New Jersey, when the pink flowers burst voluptuously out of their branches and drape the gray urban landscape with a gorgeous floral cape. People in the cities of Europe, America and Asia pour out onto the streets just for the pleasure of enjoying a spring day. People rush to the national parks to experience the most amazing places in the world at one of their most rapturously beautiful moments.
In spring you can get the jump on the travel season, alongside the benefits of the beauty and comfort of the season is the fact that it is still earlier than the peak travel season, when the great majority of trips take place. Most places you would like to visit do not yet have the crowds of summer vacation season. You can feel like the places are yours to enjoy almost exclusively.
It’s time to initiate the birth of a new year with a trip. In spring, I feel the urge welling up in me to hit the road. It almost doesn’t matter where, just to get moving, get traveling. I feel fortunate when I realize that the great road trips that we have today because of automobiles and highways are a recent innovation in human civilization. As recently as a century ago people didn’t have the freedom to go joy-riding around the whole country, as we do now. It’s a really extraordinary benefit and I am deeply grateful for it.
When I’ve been inside too long, it is essential for the maintenance of health and vitality to get out and travel. I don’t think I’m particularly unusual in experiencing that impulse in the spring. I would be more inclined to think it’s a universal impulse, though people act on it in different ways.
Spring is the ultimate reassurance, eternal recurrence. At that moment, the life force comes on with such strength that it reminds you that it will never be defeated. It will always rise again, in a never-ending cycle.
Now if you’ll excuse me, please, I am off on a great adventure.
Your humble reporter,