Turning Green

  By Shamus   Apr 18, 2008   21 comments

Spring. Picture By Heather.
For a long time the Google Earth map around my area was made from shots taken during the winter months. The trees were bare, and so everything was the color of dead leaves and asphalt. This bothered me, because it looked wrong. Everyone knows this place is green! (Half the time.) I don’t know what it is that makes the six months of green seem normal and the six months of barren trees seem like a temporary aberration. The moment the trees are shrouded in leaves it seems like they’ve always been that way, and the images of them standing naked in the yard are just leftover from a barely remembered dream three nights ago.

The view outside my window is being slowly corrected. In a couple of weeks the world should be green again. I’ve already forgotten what it smells like when the furnace kicks on, and I probably won’t give it a second thought until I smell it again in October. During the winter months I long for a good draught of spring air, but during summer I never sit around trying to remember what snow smells like. (Or perhaps, what the outside smells like when the ground is smothered in snow.) It’s like this constant seasonal blind spot – winter is forgotten the moment you can’t see it.

I’m still basking in that early-spring mania. It’s this sense of euphoric relief that begins at the end of winter, and lasts until the moment I have to go out and cut the dang grass.

20121 comments. Blackjack!


  1. Aelyn says:

    lasts until the moment I have to go out and cut the dang grass

    You just think you have it bad cutting grass. Come live in the deep south, where the first grass cutting happens in late February or early March and the last one in November. I have in the past cut grass to make the house presentable for a Christmas party.

    I hate lawn work.

  2. hotsauce says:

    This same mental mechanism is why women can have more than one child.

  3. onosson says:

    Don’t worry, you don’t have it so bad. The ice is still melting in the corner of my yard. My cousins from Mississippi came up north to visit us in December when it was wickedly cold (in the -20s), and just three weeks ago it was STILL the same temperature as then, while they were enjoying their flowers…

    However, I managed to dig out two new gardens in our yard just this week.

  4. Mari says:

    Shamus, one of us is a freak of human nature because I’m completely the opposite. When I think about spring/summer/fall, it’s with dread. Nine months out of the year, I long to see the cold, gray sky again and smell the cutting, winter winds. The other three months I’m content and able to avoid thinking about how hot and dry and miserable it’s going to be soon.

    Trees with skimpy green-yellow leaves just make me remember with nostalgia how only a short time ago that same tree was leafless and coated with ice and gleaming brightly against an unfeeling white sky. Every time the air conditioner kicks on I shiver with delight remembering that first warm blast from the heater enveloping me.

    Maybe it’s that you live in cold-land while I live at the edge of a desert. I dunno, but I have trouble imagining your point of view at all because it’s so different from my own on this. Weird, huh?

  5. Elethiomel says:

    Curious. I also am the opposite way around – I remember the creak of snow under my boots, the way winter wind with snow in it feels against my skin, and so on, throughout the summer.

    And I live in Norway, so it can’t be the desert thing.

  6. Takkelmaggot says:

    ’tis often observed that the smell of a newly-mown lawn is only pleasant for your first lawn-mowings of the year. By August, you’re sick of it again.
    Or, at any rate, I am. This is why I’m campaigning to have the entire planet paved over with six inches of asphalt.

  7. Craig says:

    I actually got sunburnt the other day when I spent some hours relaxing outside. Goes to show you how much time I spend inside in winter…

  8. JFargo says:

    I just moved to a state that actually experiences Spring before May. Having moved from Buffalo, NY, this is quite a change for me. It’ll be nice to see what it’s like to have four actual seasons instead of Winter, Cold, and Summer.

  9. Rubes says:

    There is no green like the green of newly emerging leaves.

    JFargo, I grew up in Buffalo, and I know what you mean.

  10. Jason says:

    I had to mow my grass last week because of all the spring rains and nice temps we’ve been getting. Now it’s back to low 60s high 50s, and no rain. Go figure.

  11. Blackbird71 says:

    I actually loathe the coming of spring. Other people see flowers in bloom and soft breezes, all I see are allergens being spread everywhere. Welcome to 3-4 months of no sense of smell and frequent sinus headaches. Give me a cold, grey sky any day, or at least a light drizzle to keep the pollen count down.

    Of course, there’s a fair number of evergreens where I live, so even when it snows, winter is not as barren and bleak as some places. Still, I live for the colder months.

  12. Melfina the Blue says:

    I love spring. Of course, I don’t have allergies. Pollen counts are well, deadly here. 3000+ last week. Now if I could just find a place with winter, spring, and fall, and skip summer.

  13. Kanthalion says:

    Ah. I miss my four distinct seasons. granted these past two winters have been almost as snowy as I remember from my youth. I have always said I like cold better than heat because you can always put on another layer, but you can only take so much off.

  14. Dillon says:

    I just moved to a state that actually experiences Spring before May. Having moved from Buffalo, NY, this is quite a change for me. It’ll be nice to see what it’s like to have four actual seasons instead of Winter, Cold, and Summer.

    You could move to northern Illinois (and nearby areas most likely), where we have the four seasons of Summer, Fall, Winter, and Swirl, a period from around march to June where the weather could be just about anything.

  15. Wayne says:

    Just a thought, but what if Google planned it that way? Without leaves on the trees, you can see roads and structures more easily.

  16. Zukhramm says:

    Over here, the two months of green is the temporary aberration. Ok, maybe not two, four maybe. Right now, it’s the wonderful time after the winter but before the spring. Grey and wet, brown and half melted snow everywhere. You can avutally see the asphalt, yet the threes are still bare and the snow is still here.

    Wonderful times indeed.

  17. Grue says:

    Firstly let me say that I appreciate the thoughts today, and that I enjoy reading Shamus’s blog and thank him for all the effort.

    But seriously, where is the talk about 4th edition D&D. Did I miss it? I would expect Shamus would have volumes to say on it, even if it’s not out yet.

  18. Kristin says:

    I’m the freak of nature.

    I love the first cool breezes of fall – Halloween’s coming! Football season’s past the preliminaries and colleges are entering conference play! Oh, yeah, it’s October.
    Christmas season comes, and I love the nights. Sparkling, twinkling, glimmering stars and Christmas lights, breezes with actual COLD in them, and we’ve usually had our first snow. The days kind of suck, but there’s Christmas magic spread everywhere (until I get sick of it because the Christmas magic has been there SINCE MY BIRTHDAY (Sept. 21)) so I don’t mind. Besides, they’re short.
    January is awful. But then comes February, and the grass starts growing again, leaves come out, the pear trees by my parents’ house is blooming. Spring is here and it’s inconsistently getting warmer.
    My love of the heat lasts until after my birthday. Then I feel the first cool breezes of fall, and we’re back at the start.

    I love living in West Texas.

  19. Christian Groff says:

    Mari said:

    [I long to see the cold, gray sky again and smell the cutting, winter winds. The other three months I’m content and able to avoid thinking about how hot and dry and miserable it’s going to be soon.]

    Hear hear! I live near San Antonio, Texas, and there is no snow and very little ice. Once in a blue moon, there’s a blizzard, but most of the time it’s just cold during winter months. In summer it’s bleeding hot and bugs sneak in to get some cool air. :(

    My sister is living in Montana now and when we helped her move in, I got nosebleed. Yep, that’s how adapted I am to the warm weather down south.

  20. Lord ZYRK says:

    I live in Pennsylvania and totally agree with Mari though. Just last week I was sitting at the window and got a great wiff of the Spring air and thought “Oh that warm aroma of the plants returning to life. . . I’m going to have to cut the grass soon. Oh, why is it getting hot? I miss Winter T_T

  21. MaxEd says:

    Every time I hope winter won’t come again, but it always does… I think there is something wrong with this Universe – wish it could be open-source.

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