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Szymanski: Spring has sprung — take full advantage of the season

Szymanski: Spring has sprung — take full advantage of the season
English writer and poet D.H. Lawrence once wrote, “The fairest thing in nature — the flower — still has its roots in earth and manure.” Spring has sprung and columnist Lois Szymanski encourages all to take advantage of the season and appreciate the little things. (Lois Szymanski)

Gray memories of winter are slipping away. The world around us is transforming into varied shades of green, highlighted by pink and white blossoming trees and speckled by the yellow bloom of forsythia. Spring is like a promise. When life gets rough, it is the little things that get us through. For me, spring offers so many of those little things.

I remember the earthy smell that rose from the rototiller when my dad plowed the garden each spring. Even though my childhood self knew that 2-acre garden meant our workload would increase, I still took time to inhale and appreciate the aroma of freshly turned soil. As adults, we sometimes forget to take time to appreciate the little things ... even a mound of dirt.

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Earlier this week, my friend, Amy VanHorn posted online from her farm in West Virginia. “I have a pretty awesome mom and daughter,” she wrote. “Mom is in her upper 70s helping me bring the horses over. And yesterday, Eden picked me a mini bunch of spring flowers like she did when she was three. Love the sweet little moments…” The post was accompanied by two photos, one of her mom leading their horse, Glory Be, up the lane, and one of a tiny bouquet of wildflowers, handpicked by her now college-aged daughter, Eden.

“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become,” Robert Holden once wrote. It is true. Gratitude for even the little stuff puts us in the midst of things. It makes us a part of life, and it also makes life easier. Amy and her family get that.

For Amy, it’s about taking full advantage of the season. Just last week she and her husband, Keith were picking wild ramps on the mountainside. She posted pictures of them chopping and mixing freshly picked ramps with potatoes frying on the stove. She made a wild ramp pesto spread for her toast and hilariously labeled it, “Mama Amy’s Edible Bug Repellent,” with instructions to “spread on toast and eat before trail rides, to keep the bugs at bay.”

This family accepts every gift that nature sends their way. Like my son-in-law, they were on the mountain for mushroom season, too, picking every wild morel mushroom they could find to cook and to freeze. It seems, the uglier the mushroom, the tastier it is, and boy do they ever taste good grilled with summer hamburgers! Then, when fall comes, Amy and Keith will tap the maple trees on their land to make their own maple syrup as well.

Sometimes I wonder, have we as a society lost the ability to see the gifts all around us? If that is true, that makes me sad, because there is so much to miss. There’s the sound of early morning birds chirping as the sun stretches into the morning sky to chase away the shadows of night. There’s the smell of strong morning coffee brewing when we rise. There’s morning hugs from kids, crawling into bed to inhale the smell of freshly clean sheets, and all the furry babies that come with spring. There’s the dog that greets you at the door with wild abandon, bowling you over as if you are the best thing in his life. There’s wet puppy kisses, mist rising from the mountains and the sun setting over that same big hill, and more … so many blessings to see, but with a whole different kind of vision.

When I come into the house after grooming my ponies my husband shakes his head. “You’re covered in hair!” he says. I smile and respond, “Isn’t it great!?” To me, gobs of shedding pony hair mean spring has arrived. And the barrels of manure I’ve been picking up all winter will help our garden grow… even though I have much more than we will ever use.

English writer and poet D.H. Lawrence once wrote, “The fairest thing in nature — the flower — still has its roots in earth and manure.” From nothing comes something. Spring is the start of gently placing fragile seedlings in soil. We nurture them and they give back to us three-fold or more. Even though those rewards require work and effort, oh, the beauty of those rewards!

“Create the habit of gratitude and watch your life transform,” country music artist, Robin Lee says, and it is true. Spring is the perfect time to start that habit, and we can do it joyfully and with wild abandon. Robin Williams once said, “Spring is life’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’” and it is.

Spring is a time of renewal. While the earth awakens from slumber and explodes with the scents and colors of new life, I hope you find ways to refresh your soul, to take in all the little things, to savor them and cherish them, to appreciate them and find a place to hold them in your mind.

Author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back, and realize they were the big things.” Big indeed.

Grass is growing and columnist Lois Szymanski's miniature horses are shown grazing. Szymanski encourages all to take advantage of the season and appreciate the little things.
Grass is growing and columnist Lois Szymanski's miniature horses are shown grazing. Szymanski encourages all to take advantage of the season and appreciate the little things. (Lois Szymanski)
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