Thoughts on Spring

I’m sitting outside on our back deck and the thought struck me the differences between springtime in Washington state versus Texas. I grew up and lived in Texas up until 2021, and I have now experienced spring twice in Washington. Although technically we are still at the beginning of spring. Here’s a comparison of the two from what I’ve learned so far:

Texas: Spring in Texas is many things. There is lots of pollen. For a good chunk of it, the world is gray. The plants are brown and dead, the sky is a drab gray. The weather is incredibly erratic; it is either 40 degrees, windy and rainy, or 80 degrees and sunny, or both in the same day. The mornings often start off in the 30s or 40s, but the day rapidly heats up by mid morning, leaving the afternoons to be warm and you to be sweaty in the jacket you wore that morning. It gets warm, but not warm enough for long enough to heat up the ubiquitous swimming pools in any lucky Texan’s yard. Sometimes there will be sub-freezing temperatures and even snow, which Texans are not prepared for. Why should they be when it’s over 100 degrees regularly in the summer? Springtime in Texas can be bleak, unpredictable, and drab.

However, springtime in Texas is also full of stunningly sunny days with beautiful temperatures- not the scorching heat of the summer (which I do like) but not too cold to need jackets. While the weather is erratic, the nice days are REALLY nice. Brilliant blue-sky days drive out the drab-day slumps, and your vitamin D level doesn’t take a hit for long. There are more sunny days than not, and the cold does not last for long. Around March, wildflowers begin to spring up from the ground. Highway hillsides, parkway medians, and random patches of grass take on the appearance of a birthday cake covered in rainbow sprinkles. Delicate buttercups and sturdy Indian paintbrush coexist in warm harmony. The highly esteemed bluebonnets begin to dominate the landscape, so that by April highway 290 to Austin is a drive along a sea of beautiful blues. Azalea flowers bloom, and the blessed gardenias grace our nostrils with their heavenly aroma.

Springtime in Texas means the Houston Rodeo, Go Texan Day, track season, and crawfish boils. The winter days are not extremely short but the days do lengthen, drawing Texans back out to their porches for an evening beer or bratwurst. Good food and state pride never fully disappears, but it does increase in strength during these months (in my opinion). The air is warmer, friendlier, and reminiscent of summer although not as intense. Springtime in Texas can be a wonderful thing.

Washington: Spring in Washington, I’ve discovered, is an entirely different animal. The winters here are dark, with the sun setting by 4pm each day and temperatures rarely reaching above 45 degrees. We do not get much snow, but occasionally a dusting will greet us in the morning.

Springtime up here is the re-emergence of the human race into the outdoors. A sunny day is the siren call of Washingtonians, everyone finding yard work or walks or activities to do outside. Indoor house projects take a halt as people long to replenish their diminished Vitamin D stores fro from the winter.

The days ever so gradually get warmer and longer, until seemingly overnight the state goes from 4pm sunsets and 40 degrees to 8pm sunsets and 55 degrees. With longer days comes much more time for activities. It is easier to stay awake in the evenings, and wake up in the mornings. The long, dark days of winter are quickly banished from your memory.

The stable weather is something I have come to love; no mid-day clothing changes, or no need to pack my entire closet for a weekend trip. The weather is typically as predictable as morning coffee making you go. As long as you have a decent rain jacket and a light layer, you are set. It is comfortable to wear a sweatshirt and pair of leggings as your exclusive springtime uniform.

The world comes back to life in the Washington springs, the grass already a brilliant green from the winter (because grass thrives in winter and spring here, not summer??), the buds on trees and bushes beginning to appear. On a walk you will suddenly realize that tree that was bare now has tiny leaves on it. Lavender colored trees line sidewalks. In fact, many trees and plants flower here that I did not know could flower. The world becomes incredibly bright and colorful. Daffodils shoot out of the ground abundantly and bloom their little sunshine blossoms. Peonies and tulips and rosehip flowers bloom. Everywhere you look, spring in Washington is teems with growth and new life. Baby bunnies make their appearance near the summer months, birds constantly flit about and happily chatter, the deer become interested in your growing vegetable garden. If I had to choose one word to summarize spring in Washington, it would be Growth.

I guess where I’m going with all of this is that everywhere and each season has it’s own pros and cons, it’s own ugliness and stunning beauty.

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