It is a crazy beautiful day in central Illinois. All I want to do is take my camera and photograph the abundant flowering tree branches, the daffodils, the bright young green of the grass, the stillness of the blue sky. Every year, but especially this winter of 2014, you could easily convince yourself spring will probably not actually come. The winter comes back over and over when we think it is gone, like some terrible bout of flu that keeps reinfecting our households. Pretty soon even the most strident winter-lover has given up hope and is sure that this is the year that winter is going to last 12 months.
So why live here? Well the advantage we have over California or South Carolina or one of the other eternal spring states, is that we let spring attack us with joy here. We can barely believe our luck that a cold wind isn't trying to down that row of red tulips. Look at them, so red.
We enjoy spring here the way thirsty marathon runners enjoy that next Gatorade. We relish the mild-temperatured freedom, floating on the scents and sounds, as if on a movie set. It all feels so foreign. We literally pinch ourselves, assuming this is a pleasant dream. And it lasts such a short time. Spring in central Illinois is about a fortnight long. You just put away the wool socks, start to take a few breaths and the air conditioners click on as it hits the upper 80s by June.We are grateful, down to our toes, for spring here, and we never, ever take it for granted. It is like a little miracle we observe every year. Just when you give up hope, that is when hope arrives. In the form of grass seed sprouting, earthworms coming up for a tan, and lilacs popping out overnight like a row of dancing showgirls down the avenue. ("Park Avenue...")