Spring at Last

by Carl Strang

My own idiosyncratic reckoning gives us 6 seasons in the Chicago area: spring, summer, fall, early winter, mid-winter and late winter. Subjectively, at least, winter seems to take up half the year, and that was truer this year than most. Late winter begins March 1, but its length varies greatly from year to year. My equally subjective designation of the first day of spring is when I see the first native wildflower blooming away from buildings. This year, as it happens, that date was my birthday, April 17, and was marked by two of the 3 usual species.

I saw spring beauties first. For once, the delicate pink of the flower is not overexposed in this image.

I saw spring beauties first. For once, the delicate pink of the flower is not overexposed in this image.

Some common blue violets were intermixed with the spring beauties.

Some common blue violets were intermixed with the spring beauties.

Though many individuals had open flowers that day, cold weather had held them back from opening sooner. The third species, which sometimes blooms first, is the white trout lily. Though abundant leaves were up by the 17th, I did not see flowers until Monday of this week.

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