I have been chasing spring for weeks.
In New York when I left, spring had just begun to arrive. Fresh green shoots brought a welcome reprieve from the endless mud everywhere, but little else was blooming.
In Pennsylvania, spring came early. By the time I made it down in early April, the trees were in full bloom, rows and rows of pink and white flowers lining the streets. The mornings and evenings were cool, but the midday sun promised warmer days were coming. I went for walks and marveled how every day the greenery got a little taller and a little brighter. The tree cover was just starting, and the woods still shook with empty branches. In the afternoons, dozens of robins descended on the field to eat, fight, and play.
In Maryland, the peak of spring had passed long before I arrived. The trees had passed their initial bloom and the leaf cover was much stronger. The days were already hot but thunderstorms rolled through regularly. A few magnolia trees greeted my arrival with stunning pink flowers as big as my palm and by the time I left, they had been replaced with little green buds.
In Virginia, spring had a firm grip on the low country, but high in the Shenandoah mountains bare branches still rattled in the wind. The higher I went; the less spring had taken hold. I watched in awe as my van climbed Skyline Drive how the trees went from full and lush, to blooming, to barely awake. A long day of torrential rain began to coax out the buds, but spring colors were still far from their peak when I left the top of the mountains.
In Delaware, spring on the coast brought sunny days and cool breezes; ideal beach weather. The trees were long past their peak blooms, and fresh green leaves rustled in the ever-present wind. I arrived at the start of horseshoe crab mating season and saw more of these disc-shaped shells than ever before. A congregation of four mating ones drew much excitement on the beach.
The Flower Moon drew the tide out and revealed hundreds of feet of mud flats, dotted with tiny active sea snails. I endured the squelching between my toes as I knelt down to watch them and was rewarded with a visit from a baby sea turtle at the edge of the tide. I said hello and went on my way. Sea birds flocked in their hundreds in the early mornings, taking advantage of the exposed snails and clamoring for the attention of mates.
And now in Vermont. Most of the trees are awake and bright, but a few on the high slopes of the Green Mountains are still bare. Tulips, dandelions, violets, and other small flowers dot the land. My newly installed bug screen lets me enjoy the cool breeze while keeping the many bugs at bay. A winter of inconsistent temperatures has allowed the ticks to thrive, and already I’ve found close to a dozen on myself, my dog, and my husband.
The weather gets warmer every day, a welcome relief from the nights that dropped below freezing. Now, I lay in bed and welcome the fresh mountain breeze, not hide from it under four blankets. The sun rises earlier and earlier, and I try to see it at least once a week. I am here to immerse myself after all, in the endless cycle of the seasons and the wonder of nature.
These next few weeks will take us through several states; plans calling to me like deadlines. But in between the (minor) hustle and bustle I allow to remain in my life, it is easier and more enjoyable than ever to take time to let in the stillness.