While this March had some warm days and signs of spring began appearing, April should bring the full glory of the new season and leave little doubt that last winter is now history. (After the snow we’re expecting this weekend melts, of course!)
Living in Missouri, it can be easy to take the change of seasons for granted. Years ago, in late summer, I moved to subtropical southern Florida for a job opportunity. As the calendar progressed into what should have been fall and then winter, I realized that I wasn’t noticing much difference in the weather or the vegetation. The palm trees’ leaves were always the same green. It felt like time was standing still. People there eventually began wearing jackets and coats for no apparent reason.
I came back north for Christmas, driving through the night out of Florida. When the sun came up the next morning, the trees were mostly bare and the more northern landscape was glistening white from a heavy frost. Central Alabama looked like paradise to me! I realized then how important the change of seasons is to me, like a clock measuring time. By March, my seasonal deficit disorder and my Florida residency, had ended.
Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, but I’m always ready for spring when it arrives. In many ways, spring is a new beginning in the natural world, though I suppose the cycle of life has no real beginning or end. To careful observers of the natural world, spring provides something new on a daily basis, making the days fly by. To me, the best thing about summer is that each day brings me that much closer to the fall.
Take advantage of the recreation opportunities on public lands in your area to enjoy this spring’s comfortable weather and changing landscape. A spring hike is sure to rejuvenate the winter-weary soul. To search for conservation areas near you, go to http://www.mdc.mo.gov/, then click on “Conservation Areas” and you can search by area name, county or region. If you want to know more about the flowers in bloom, our new updated edition of the Missouri Wildflowers book is available.