We saw a redwing blackbird perched on a cattail in the swamp. For me, that has always been the true sign of spring in Michigan and Ohio. As welcome as robins may be, they are unreliable harbingers, since they hide out in the woods year ’round.

The next sign will be green shoots of crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, and tulip. My favorite has always been the tiny grape hyacinth that carpeted the woods where I lived. And of course, forsythia will wave its golden arms to greet the sun.

We all need that sunshine, the longer days, the ability to escape our homes and vehicles and absorb fresh air. When we lived in Florida, and the seasons were less distinct, we were grateful to be outdoors at any time of year, but we didn’t experience this sense of springtime liberation.

Spring will bring rain and mud, as well, but what a small price to pay for the glorious growth of greenery that will result. Shrubs and trees will burst forth in a rainbow of celebration. Here, viburnum, lilac, crabapple, cherry, apple, pear, and the strange northern magnolia will praise the sun and shower down petals. In Florida, robust southern magnolia, azalea, jacaranda, crepe myrtle, golden rain tree, orange, and kapok will take their turn providing brilliant accents.

Sunlight awakens 
red buds on barren branches 
Gloria to life

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