Springing Ahead


Ah, spring, the season of rebirth and colour, hope in buds, youth in convertibles, sunshine.

For most of my adult life, spring was my favourite season. A few years ago, feeling brave and sophisticated, I switched to fall. I used to not trust fall because it was followed by the unmentionable, until I learned to appreciate the moment; fall has great moments.

Not that spring is anything to sneeze at – unless one has allergies. It is a rambunctious season, festooned with colour after a lengthy monochromatic winter palette. It is a season of doing: planting, cleaning, washing, purging, biking and baseball.

While spring is beautiful and light-hearted, it is also the time of year when idiocy, previously buffered under ski-jackets and snow-covered ground, springs eternal for all to experience.

There are three particular examples of spring stupidity that cause me to yearn for the snowstorms of yester-season.

I love tulips. They are architecturally pleasing, vibrantly coloured and while they don’t have a perfumed aroma they exude the scent of promise and renewal. Unfortunately, I cannot grow tulips either in my yard or in the urns on my porch because of an inferior being, the Frankenstein of the “Sixth Day” of creation: the squirrel.

What was He or She thinking? Squirrels serve no purpose except to zigzag across roads, find food, bury food, never relocate the food they’ve buried and have baby squirrels. The squirrel also induces pacifists like me to reconsider our views regarding the acquisition of automatic weapons.

Though squirrels are not the brightest animals in the “Kingdom”, they know how to wreak devastation. Tulip bulbs are to squirrels what chocolate truffles are to certain people – irresistible. The difference is most women won’t demolish somebody else’s candy tray searching for truffles, not in an obvious way, anyhow. But, squirrels are bereft of such etiquette. Within 24 hours of my planting tulips – either bulbs or pots that haven’t yet bloomed, the squirrels rip them from their earthy homes leaving crumbly soil, torn stems and a messy trail of leaves. Most of the time, they are too stupid to even remember to abscond with their bulb treasures. They leave empty-clawed, momentary satisfaction fading from their peanut-sized brains.

I hate squirrels more than any other animal. There is only one thing these despicable, bushy-tailed bandits and I have in common – we both love tulips; however, I always remember in which room mine have been placed.

My second beef is with a group of humans: pool-owners. Ten years ago, I felt insane envy for this category of people. They had a cool oasis in which to jump on a sultry August afternoon. Me? I had a hose and a pitcher of lemonade – not too shabby, but not the same.

As my gardening passion grew, I became less disconcerted that my family didn’t own a pool. We had beautiful landscaping done by me, a constantly changing canvas that brings great personal satisfaction and renewed oxygen to the world. My sons would probably prefer a pool, but they know the difference between a perennial and an annual flower; they know how to plant a tree. Besides, pools mean a constant stream of uninvited guests, huge expenditures in food and drink for said guests and constant vigilance for the swimmers. Too many youngsters have lost their lives in private pools. I would not find it relaxing to live with that constant concern in my backyard.

But, the real problem I have with pool owners involves manners of the road. Every year, on warm, sunny spring days, I treat my automobile to a luxurious carwash. Unlike the winter washes which are merely utilitarian to remove salt and dirt, these washes are completely aesthetic. When every hubcap bolt is sparkly clean, I admire my shiny ride. It looks almost as gorgeous as the day I brought it home.

After the car-spa moment, I proudly drive down winding, interesting side streets, enjoying the day until wham!, my car splashes through a huge, dirty running puddle. This massive river has enough water to fill a pool, which, in fact, it has done all winter. The pool company is draining somebody’s pool of all the disgusting, sludgy water that has built up over the preceding six months. They are doing it today because of the perfect weather, the same reason why I got a carwash, now ruined by a selfish, inconsiderate pool owner. Why don’t they drain their pool onto their own yard or better yet, send the water into their garages to defile their cars?

Pool owners are like squirrels: no regard for others and they probably don’t fully appreciate tulip blooms either.

My final spring beef is with “seasonal exhibitionists.” Finally, the dirty grey world is alive with green grass and sweet, colourful flowers. I drink these visions in with my eyes until I am suddenly assailed by the apparition of some girl’s mottled, flabby legs all the way up to her ying-yang, or of a shirtless man’s cascading belly. It is enough to make me run for the safety of a dark basement.

Why do some imbeciles feel it necessary to flaunt their flesh on the first day of spring? It could be minus ten degrees, there could be snow falling outside, but “she” has donned her short shorts and “he” has doffed his shirt just because ‘tis the season. Join a gym to lose some of that winter padding. Visit a tanning salon. But, please, do not expose me to your exposure until at least mid-June.

Seasonal exhibitionists are like squirrels, too – running around oblivious of the fact that many motorists would like to run them over.

Despite all its dim-witted challenges, spring retains the apparent innocence of a Miss Universe contestant and deserves support. So, as long as I plant daffodils, walk instead of drive and keep my eyes on the ground, it is almost, almost the best season of the year.

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