Chasing Spring

May 4, 2011 in blog, North America, Travelogue, United States

I miss deciduous forests when we’re elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love rain forests, and high cloud forests, and the interesting mix of vegetation in between that populates the middle regions of the planet, but there’s something special about deciduous forests that I love. Perhaps its the continual change from bare sticks, naked and shivering in winter to the forest fire that is autumn. Perhaps, it is that I was born in one and they just feel like “home” to me; I don’t know.


We’ve been chasing spring east across the midwest this month. The snow that blanketed the ground in Wisconsin in mid-April has been replaced with a rainbow of green as we’ve driven towards the Atlantic coast. Red bud and dogwood trees mixed with crab apple and pear add a splash of impressionistic colour to the undergrowth. Tulips and daffodils paint the front yards of friends and strangers and give us hope that it really will warm up eventually. We’re still a little chilly!


It was raining this morning as we pulled out of Penn Court, in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. “This better bring some REALLY good May flowers!!” Tony shouted toward the house to make the girls laugh. The Adams family was hanging out their front door waving and yelling for us. Jack was disappointed to be kept from “racing us” to the end of the block, like he did last time, by sisters who didn’t want to “un-muddy” him later. Mom and the girls were teary. Tucker was laughing and stomping around their feet like the three year old he is.


This is a corner of our chosen family that we wouldn’t have if not for our nomadic existence and that fact is not lost on any of us. Every time we visit we relive the fun we had with them across two countries in Europe and renew our gratefulness for the gift and the guts to live this life. We wouldn’t trade them for all of the svickova in Prague!

Melissa and I climbed a tree exploding in pale pink ruffly flowers yesterday at the local fish hatchery. Tony took our picture. We laughed. The boys fed bags of pellet food to trout of various sizes and made friends with a little boy in a blue shirt whilst climbing a metal yellow fish. It was one of those perfect days with an optimistic blue sky that draws the very best of spring promise from every flower, blade of grass and Mom beneath it.


I couldn’t help but be drawn by it’s efforts and reflect on the gifts of Spring. The rain washes away all of the dirt of old things, invigorates the roots of the young and the ancient alike and causes both to lift their heads, explode in flowers, and stretch tired cold limbs to try again in bright green. The sun warms buds that swell with the possibility of something better, something newer, something more than the long cold months that have preceded offered. A world that was filled with monochrome, a flat black and white photograph of memories, all of a sudden bursts into a technicolor riot of life; life that was there all along, we just couldn’t see it.


How like life.


Perhaps this is why I love deciduous forests and the four seasons they reflect. They provide a mirror for the human condition, or my condition, at least. They are an object lesson in defrosting, watering, fertilizing, warming up, investing in the future, savouring every bit of sweetness the present has to offer, pushing roots deeper, looking to the sky, taking what comes and making life from it.


Today is the last day of our re-entry roadtrip. It’s my brother’s birthday, another life to celebrate. The rain is falling and the daffodils are dancing in it. We’re rolling east, toward New York City, and beyond. All the while, I’m chasing spring.