Has spring arrived?



How do you measure time?

Seems like an easy enough question. (Though, to be fair, I suppose it’s so easy that my asking it makes you suspicious. Touché.)

Regardless of how you measure time, we all work from the same basic recipe.

Seconds become minutes… minutes hours… days, weeks, months, years and so on.

And even for those running sunrise to sunset (no watch required), we find it’s simply boarding the same bus at a different stop. Time is fairly universal. It moves along, doesn’t stop, without regard to our investments for using it.

The trick is… time lies. (And your suspicions prove well-based.)

Consider two people, born on the same day in different years. Thanks to that extra February day, it’s possible that when each reaches their respective fourth birthday, one would have lived an additional twenty-four hours.

For some significant… for some irrelevant… realistic is that little does such measurement matter in the land of the fabled grand scheme. For, after all, none are promised the same number of seconds… minutes… days… in a lifetime. Leap year becomes a wonderful curiosity, celebrated more so by those with a birthday that falls on February 29th.

Still… in summary… four years does not always equal four years. Time lies.

Rather than time in general, I’ve been wondering about spring specifically as of late.

Around our house, the calendar markings of spring this year were essentially welcomed by thirty inches of snow in our driveway. I grant you that the dates didn’t overlap perfectly, but… well…

I have this running joke about midnight. The basic idea is that most of us simply don’t think about a day changing to the next as the change happens. We celebrate New Year’s Eve, and we may be aware of Friday transitioning to Saturday, but honestly, it’s something that doesn’t register as a change that has taken place. We don’t truly see Friday become Saturday.

And from this, the theory that the day doesn’t change until you go to sleep. Unlike when a watch arrives at midnight, most of us do sense a change having gone to sleep on Friday and waking up on Saturday. It’s a theory with corollaries supported by years of working in an environment where the calendar day, work day, and business day were three completely different things. (Calendar based on the calendar… work based on an assigned shift… and business closing for most departments at 6am. It was a scenario where, literally, grave shift hours could be the first shift of the day for some groups and the last shift of a different day for others all at the same moments.)

It should come as no surprise then that spring doesn’t exactly connect with me when I look at the calendar.

Spring has been arriving around here as the birds increase in variety and numbers at the feeders in the backyard. But it truly arrived this past week… as we near late April.

For that was when I was able to start putting cloths out on the line to dry. There is no surer sign of spring’s arrival than the scent of Downey in the air. I even broke out the lawn mower for a celebratory lap of the yard.

In so many ways it’s amazing how most of the seasons… most things… pay no attention to the actual calendar in the same way that recipes for cookies will tell you to bake for something like 30 to 90 minutes or until golden brown.

Until golden brown. The classic disclaimer. The classic twist to suggest your results may vary.

Want to start a garden? Some of the advice you’ll learn comes in the form of telling you not to expose plants to the outdoors unless you’ve past the last of the overnight frost threats. Alas, when a few feet of snow have yet to melt as the spring season is declared as arrived… well, that’s good for baking cookies and not quite as good for putting plants in the ground.

The hours filled with light are getting longer. Seems like just a few days ago that Terry and I would finish up with work, head out for home with the headlights on, darkness blanketing the neighborhood well before 5pm. And now, we’re gazing into the yard to see the goldfinches and woodpeckers and more make one final run to the feeders before the sun goes down around 8.

How do you measure time?

By a watch? By the planting of a garden? By the setting sun? By a batch of cookies?

I have a list of things to get done around the yard tomorrow. Don’t know if some rain will wash out the attempt… don’t know if I’ll be able to finish all of them. But I will enjoy the time I invest in the effort. Because it isn’t how you measure it… it’s how you use it.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com