OK, It’s Spring

by Carl Strang

How do you decide when spring has arrived? We like to impose concepts like seasons on the changes of the year, and our moods often are influenced by the weather. Atmospheric inertia and weather’s changeability deny our official seasonal transitions at solstices and equinoxes. Winter seems to go on so long in the Chicago area that in my own scheme I give it half of our seasons: early winter, mid-winter and late winter to go along with spring, summer and fall. In such a framework, the transition from late winter to spring is an important one, perhaps the most important of the year.

Certainly we have seen plenty of signs of spring. There have been some warm days. Ice is gone from lakes and ponds. Many species of migrant birds have arrived or passed through. Silver maples have finished flowering. I didn’t feel that spring had arrived, however, despite all of those events, until Wednesday. I saw the first green darner dragonfly of the season.

Here is a pair of green darners. The male is the one with green and blue colors.

How can I deny an insect that has flown up from the South to begin its northern breeding season? I don’t know if I want to make this one event my only determinant of this seasonal change every year. But sometimes it’s enough.

So, how do You decide when spring has arrived?



  1. Zoe said,

    April 8, 2011 at 6:42 am

    The flickers and pheobes are back, and there is a red blush on the mountains from plumping buds… A pair of cooper’s hawks is hanging out in the city park where they build their nest each year. Also, the ice cream truck has returned to my neighborhood.

    I love your blog – I am learning so much. Thank you.

  2. Hal Atherton said,

    April 8, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Hi Carl,
    It is spring when the sun is rising on the north side of the oak tree on my neighbors property. Its almost there.

    Regards, Hal

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