The Second Day of Spring
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The Second Day of Spring

The bird I cannot see whistles, “jeer-jeer-jeer, queedle-queedle.” And then again. A blue jay, no doubt, one of the most common birds in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The sun’s warm, but my outfit says it’s late winter. All-black sweats, a long-sleeve shirt, and a zip-up hoodie. Even my socks are black – winter colors.

Meteorologists say this spring began yesterday, March 1st. Astronomy folks say we’ll wait until March 19th this year to celebrate the change of season. Absolutely nothing against astronomy. In fact, Ann Druyan—she co-wrote the famous PBS series and book, Cosmos—had it right when she said, “that’s the point. The picture is never completed. There is always so much more that remains to be discovered.” Indeed.

Here, spring definitely started yesterday. If I called my mother-in-law in Buffalo, New York, she might be sitting outside on her courtyard porch, sipping a café au lait, wearing a jacket, and rolling her eyes at the idea of spring being around any corner. It’s 39 degrees in Buffalo, a decent outlook for the week, but the threat of a “winter storm” looms the following Monday. Spring starts when the weather says it starts. Dates be damned!

In my yard, at least, the blue jays and even the northern cardinals don’t care about the weather in Buffalo. These birds are enjoying their moment in the sun. The eastern redbuds are showing off their purple amidst the leafless sweetgums, oaks, and maple trees. If you visit Charlotte this time of year, you would notice these redbuds nodding to you….Winter is gone. Their moment in the sun may be short-lived but don’t tell them.

Being from Buffalo myself, I’m not afraid of cold weather, even if I did head south some years ago. Like the birds that migrate south for the winter, we adapt to our new surroundings while also bringing experiences of the seasons past. In Buffalo, we anticipated the spring for months. That’s why us ex-Buffalonians know a sound of the season when we hear it, and the voices of neighbors on their back patio is just that. There are smells of the season, too, like the smell of a lightly-burnt chicken from somebody’s backyard grill.

The grass is freshly mowed and looking green like the thin rough you might find just off the fairway.

Is the wind picking up? Oh, no, that’s just a blue jay coming in for a landing on a young, leafless maple tree. This tree sits in our neighbor’s yard in clear view of our porch. This summer it will provide privacy, but today it provides a landing strip for this eager blue jay.

As I sit on a cushioned chair on our back porch, I have beside me a red composition notebook, a copy of The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday for some short reading and inspiration, and, sure, an iPhone 14 Pro Max for some bird research as needed. This isn’t a piece about disconnecting from technology. This is about being. On my back porch, looking out at my yard on what I like to call the second day of spring.