Spring on a street corner
As a child, I hated spring.
I’m sure growing up in Cleveland had a lot to do with my feelings towards this season of transition.
I enjoyed the time leading up to spring. Winter in the snowbelt meant months of sledding, skating, and snow creations. Best of all, me and my five sisters and two brothers, as well as neighborhood friends would build snow forts, with snowball fights ensuing well into the dark evenings.
And, there is something peaceful and magical about the stark cold landscape that stops time in its tracks.
Of course, following spring is summer—my favorite. Barefoot, climbing fruit trees, our crew spent entire days at the pool. We’d camp, horseback ride, canoe, all while indulging in ice cream and “bug juice” that made the sun kissed weeks even sweeter.
Days not outside, I’d hid in the attic, reading. Wednesdays meant lessons at the Cleveland Museum of Art, sprawled on the floor, working on creations inspired by the masterpieces. Just lying on a beach blanket still warm from the day, watching the stars with my sisters, was all part of the enchanting season.
The period between, spring, was muddy and slushy. The snow was worthless to play in. Salt soiled roads and sidewalks.
However, one person who loves spring—my mom—delights at the sight of purple crocuses poking through dirty snow mounds, and the start of maple sugar season. She and my dad would get a kick out of taking us kids to homemade pancake breakfasts with real syrup in the century village of Burton. However, Ohio maple syrup did not do the trick for me.
Spring was also a solemn religious time as a Catholic family. Holy Week meant long prayers, sorrowful songs, and kneeling for long stretches during somber services.
Statistically, winter has the highest rate of people who die, but for our family, it seemed like spring was the season of funerals, because I remember going to quite a few when I was young.
I don’t remember who they were for but have memories of sneaking in games of tag in dank rooms and sterile halls filled with Slovak food with my siblings and cousins while adults talked about someone in a coffin I didn’t recognize.
I would ask my mom why she loved spring so much. She would reply, “I love the flowers.” And for the longest time, I did not understand…
The last couple of years we’ve lived in Georgia I’ve noticed a Hyacinth in my front yard.
There is not much to the stubble of green with two pitiful blossoms. People may even call it ugly and want to pull it out, replacing it with something better.
But, despite its woeful appearance, it has survived the rough conditions of being on a street corner. Kids bike past. Landscapers and trash crews like to saunter and smoke cigarettes at the intersection. Car exhaust stains the curb surrounding the flower bed and it is the neighborhood dogs’ favorite spot.
Even with the extreme weather conditions of the south—there it is… the tiny growth poking out of pine straw. Bright pink buds sitting on its sturdy green base—just like it was last year, and the year prior when my son planted it.