Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


The First Inkling of Spring

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 11:20 am

The sky is a lovely light blue that tells me that Spring is coming. It has been warm, but there are still piles of snow in the shady spots that haven’t melted. They are dark and gray with dirt. They seem to tell me that I shouldn’t get used to this lovely weather. The snow can come back, so watch out.

If there comes a little thaw, Still the air is chill and raw, Here and there a patch of snow, Dirtier than the ground below, Dribbles down a marshy flood; Ankle-deep you stick in mud In the meadows while you sing, “This is Spring.”  – Christopher Pearce Cranch, A Spring Growl

I worked at K-Mart for seven years during high school and college. Every year at this time, there is the Spring activity. The Garden Center, which had been used for storage of Christmas trees or surplus toilet paper over the winter, needs to be cleaned out and prepared for the season. The “Now Hiring” sign wouldn’t go up, but they would be looking. Every once and a while a go-getter kid from the nearby high school would ask for an application anyway and he’d get the job that wasn’t advertised: Garden Center Employee.

A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.  – Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886), No. 1333

If we have two more weeks of this weather, there will be a Garden Center rush. Then K-Mart will pull the employees from the checkouts to work the Garden Center. People will come out of the store with huge carts full of peat moss, bark and flats of flowers. When I worked there, we would warn them, “Don’t plant these flowers until after Memorial Day. We could still have a cold snap.” People were so excited about Spring that the warning went unheeded. They couldn’t wait to get their hands in the dirt.

Weird, isn’t it? Somehow in the dead of winter when its 40 below, so cold your words just freeze in the air, you think you’ll never hear a robin’s song again or see a blossom on a cherry tree, when one day you wake up and bingo, light coming through the mini blinds is softened with a tick of rose and the cold morning air has lost its bite. It’s spring once again, the streets are paved with mud and the hills are alive with the sound of mosquitos.  – Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, Northern Exposure, Mud and Blood, 1993

Maybe it’s because our winters are so long and cold. We get so much snow and the little vegetation that we have looks so dead and miserable that people are dying to see green. All they want is to have that lovely color and growth around them, even if they know that the eminent final snow of the season will kill the delicate flowers.

We shall find peace. We shall hear the angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.  – Anton Chekhov (1860 – 1904), 1897

Remembering the years at K-Mart in the Garden Center makes me realize that part of the excitement of Spring is the hope that I will be able to work outside. Even though I work at an engineering firm now, I still have that vague hope. Maybe they will be short on surveyors and they’ll send me out to hold the reflector. Maybe they will send me on an errand to a client to deliver plans. Maybe they will just send me home because it’s so slow. That hope still springs alive in me, even though I know that I’ll be typing their letters and specifications. At least I’m near a window and can enjoy the blue skies.


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