Spring Has Sprung
Bugs, pollen and flowers are among the harbingers, portents, warblers and baseball marking the change of season in East Cobb.
Springtime in Cobb County is here, we've made it one more time around the sun, and life is good. Old Man Winter didn’t stay long, never really settled in and froze our pipes and iced the roads. There was nothing to compare to last year’s deep freeze.
The harbingers have all been springlike. Kudzu bugs and bumblebees arrived early, the leading edge of what experts warn will be a buggy summer.
It doesn’t really matter who you choose to blame for climate change, but it sure seems to have changed in North Georgia this year. Record pollen levels and high temperatures came before the equinox this year, hot yellow clouds foreshadowing the green flowery spectacular to come. Some years we’ve dealt with March blizzards but not this time around. Pollen signals full steam ahead, as the azaleas and dogwoods and wildflowers of a thousand hues begin their daily explosions, giving Cobb the spring colors that cause people to come visit us and stay.
New life abounds, whether it’s the unwanted puppies and kittens piling up in the shelters or the neighbor across the way who has a few weeks to go before having a springtime baby, her first, a girl.
Then there’s the local wildlife. A contractor friend found a newly furry juvenile squirrel in an attic he was working in and took it in, he and his wife feeding it Pedialyte through an eyedropper for a couple of days before they could turn it over to a wildlife rehabilitation specialist. Our housecats go eye to eye with the squirrels on our deck and mouth chittering kitty threats, warning the dire damage they will do if they ever get outside the glass door. But the squirrels know an idle threat when they see one, because letting our cats out would diminish all of the songbirds who have found their voice and a bumper crop of bugs and probably the inclination to stay around the backyard, singing their songs and looking to impress the girls and make more birds. Spring sings from the trees.
Spring means graduation for many young people, from high school to college, college to the “real world”; or, in the case of our little rosebud, graduating from her little Montessori school to the crowded halls of East Cobb Middle School. Spring can be daunting. To all the seniors taking victory laps and the baccalaureates debating grad school vs. the job market, spring’s breezes waft new challenges and portend, as Guido says to Joel Goodson in Risky Business, “fun … the time of your life.”
Some races are run this spring, but they won’t be back around the sun again. Furman Bisher won’t write another word about The Masters, yet another Georgia spring totem. And as the Braves begin playing the National League once again, the voices on my radio are Don and Jim, not Ernie, Pete or Skip. That emotional transition has taken a while, but I think I’m ready for it. There is no one more hopeful than a baseball fan in the first weeks of spring.
Younger ball players are gearing up while moms and dads begin the spring tradition of driving to practices, games, tournaments—all so their child will develop into the next Chipper, the next Messi or the next Jennie Finch. This year’s gas prices make Mom and Dad’s sacrifice even more than in years past, but springtime youth athletic dreams are as heavy in the air as the pollen at Fullers Park or Metro North or any of the rest of our thriving fields.
People of faith celebrate deliverance with Passover, or the birth and Resurrection with Easter. The pagan-minded among us will dance around maypoles and hunt eggs and eat chocolate bunnies, observing the vestigial traces of a time when early man celebrated growing crops and fertility. Spring is portentous in meaning.
Meanwhile, the pragmatic child is finely attuned to one of the most notable spring harbingers of all—that moment when the unmistakable warbling tune of the ice cream man’s van starts winding through the neighborhood, signaling the shift from hot chocolate to Bomb Pops and fudgicles. Sometimes spring arrives dripping strawberry slush down your arm.