The first spring day

Let's take an imaginary break at this gazebo in Yorktown, Virginia. I took the photo in May 2013, but we can pretend it's today!

Let’s take an imaginary break at this gazebo in Yorktown, Virginia.
I took the photo in May 2013, but we can pretend it’s today!

“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”  — Henry Van Dyke

On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, we returned to Alexandria to find six inches of snow on the ground.  Really!  I had just left behind our daffodils, finally blooming in York County, and here I was shoveling snow AGAIN during what I thought would be mild weather.  And the first day of spring, according to the calendar, was only three days away.

But, as Van Dyke points out, that’s a very different thing from the first spring day.  The crazy thing is, we had a couple of days that felt like spring weeks ago, minus the flowering trees and other signs of new life.  This year, the warm days seem merely to have provoked more winter weather.

Those of you who live in more northern climates are probably thinking I’m a weather wimp – and you’re right!  Still, I am hoping — yet again — that THIS time, by the time this message is published, we will be having some true springtime weather, not only here, but maybe even north of here.

In any case, I hope this photo will chase away the winter blues, even if your weather does not.  I’m sending you a bouquet of wishes for the lighthearted sound of birdsong, the cheerful color of flowers, and the delicious warmth of bright sunlight.

One year ago today:

Poems by heart

This post was first published on April 2, seven years ago. The re-post date was adjusted to allow the Easter weekend posts from 2014 to appear on Easter weekend 2021. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! I heard that an Environment Canada climatologist has said that there are 5 stages of spring in Alberta: Fool’s Spring, Second Winter, a Spring of Deception, Mud Season, & then finally True Spring. It sounds a lot like Minnesota, to me! I can’t imagine living further north than I already am, unless near the moderating effects of an ocean.

    • Susan, that’s such a funny (and seemingly totally accurate) description. Everything is relative, though…I could take your last sentence, substitute “Virginia” for “Minnesota,” and say exactly the same thing! 😀

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