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Trees Anticipate the Coming of Spring

When trees such as Russian olives sprout new leaves in spring, they provide safe nesting places for birds and other animals.
Leaves sprout on Russian olive tree, providing shelter for animals.

During warmer days of late winter, a taste of spring hangs in the air. I notice it sometimes when I walk near a tree. There is a sense of anticipation, almost like an awakening that comes from the trees.


Most of nature rests during winter months. With the approach of spring, there is the hint of new growth and sunny weather that wraps trees, bushes and plants of all kinds in expectant energy. Fruit trees collect that warmth to know when it's time to blossom into colorful flowers with a promise of fruit later on – if cold, frosty weather doesn't return.


Anticipation of the spring to come carries bumps along the way. Among those bumps for trees are below freezing weather late in the season and harsh winds.


Life is like that. There are cracks and barriers on our pathways. Sometimes they seem overwhelming, especially when several problems show up close together. They appear one right after the other before we've even had time to recover from the last one.  But, like the approach of spring, there are more good days than challenging ones.


As you walk near trees during this late winter season, absorb their confidence that spring is coming. Remind yourself that good days ahead will outnumber unpleasant ones. Absorb that knowing from the trees. It brings hope. And hope helps us to keep going even during the worst of days.

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What Helps You Know Spring Is Coming?

As I trimmed a rose bush in my back yard this week so it will be ready for warmer spring weather, I looked at other plants outside my house. Were buds starting to swell yet? No, it still isn't time for bushes and trees to start blooming in the area where I live. But as the weeks progress and the weather slowly starts to warm, they will sense that warming up time. When their intricate inner mechanisms tell them that blooming season has arrived, it will be time for buds to swell, for fruit trees to start the blooming process, for grass to green up, and for the neighborhood to sparkle with color.


If trees and bushes and other plants can tell when it's time for spring, how do we know that spring is coming? Do we also have an inner clock? Does something tell us warmer weather is on the way even while we still bundle up in our sweaters and jackets?


I imagine that we each have our own ways of telling when spring is on its way. Not only can we see that the thermometer is slowly climbing into higher digits, but we notice it doesn't take quite so many layers of clothing to stay warm outside.


Perhaps, like the plants, we have an inner mechanism that tell us when spring is coming too. Do we start to feel a little more excited? Now that January is finally over, does it seem like spring is less far away?  Do we feel the anticipation of warmer weather, of working in the garden, of playing with friends outside in weather that doesn't make our cheeks turn red with cold?


Here's a thought. If you could draw a picture of what your inner mechanism of spring's approach looks like inside of you, what would you draw? Would you draw a hidden away switch somewhere between your heart and your brain? Or would you draw something you can see outside of yourself? Would you draw yourself standing beside a bush surrounded by snow that holds its head high with the hope of spring? Would you draw a picture of your dog rolling joyfully on its back in grass still yellow with winter's sleep?


If you do decide to draw such a picture, once you're done, talk about it with your family. Ask how they sense that spring is coming. Hang your picture up in your room or on the refrigerator, or show it to your friends and ask them what their inner spring sensor looks like. You all will likely have different ideas to share. Have fun!

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