• Wis Outdoor Explorer

Spring Firsts

Spring is a time for first and the first flowers of the season are starting to show up.

Image it’s mid-November and the air is cold and crisp; the wind is picking up and you decide you need to put on a warm hat and gloves. The clouds are gray and flat and there’s a little dampness in the air. Then you see it! It floats down from the ski ever so slightly and lands on the sleeve of your coat and disappears. A smile comes across your face and you feel the need to tell anyone who will listen that the first snowflake of winter has arrived.

We get so excited to see that first flake of snow, why? Does it invoke something from our youth about snow days that are yet to come? Does it get you excited about hopping on your snowmobile and taking a ride that you’ve waited most of the year to take? Whatever the reason, most of us get excited about that first snowflake. But what about spring? Spring offers many first for anyone who loves getting outdoors. Why do we seemingly overlook those first and brush them off as if they’ve been here all year long? I’m here to remind you of some of those first of springs.

Rhubarb is one the first things we harvest in the spring.

One of my favorites is the first day in spring I can turn off my furnace and open up the windows. Having that fresh spring air flow through the house and push out that stale winter air is a sure sign that spring has arrived.

Some may not enjoy this as much as other, but mowing the yard for the first time of the year. I love how a fresh cut spring lawn smells after a good mowing. A spring lawn reminds me of a dog with shaggy hair in desperate need of a good trim. It’s rough and uneven, but after that first cut the lawn never looked so good. It’s green and full of life and the smell makes that first cut even better.

For you farmers out there, the first time of spring when the moldboards hit the dirt and turn it over for the beginning of planting season. I don’t know what it is, but that smell of freshly turned over soil just screams, “this is Wisconsin and this is how we do it.” Watching the tractor and plow go through the field unearthing insects and worms for the birds to snack on. Wisconsin is rooted in farming and seeing them working in the fields for the first time always brings a smile to my face.

The first time farmers hit the fields is a sure sign of spring.

Speaking of turning the soil, getting back into the garden for the first time in spring is always fun. Tilling and prepping the soil for this year’s garden just feels good. It’s good to be outside, it’s good to feel like you’ve accomplished something outside and getting the garden ready it part of that. It’s always fun to plan what new things you’re going to plant and see what survived the winter and is coming back for another year. Especially the rhubarb.

I enjoy seeing those first buds appear on the trees. There is something special to me about seeing a tree that has looked lifeless for the past few months slowly coming back to life. As the weather warms up you can almost see the buds growing bigger with each passing day. Soon they will be shading us from the hot summer sun that is just around the corner.

While we are on the topic of plants, I’ve always loved the tulip and seeing them emerge from the ground for the first time always brightens my day. I know it won’t be too much longer and they will be displaying their beautiful colorful pedals for all of us to enjoy. We have a variety of other plants that emerge from the ground each spring and I like taking daily trips around my yard to check on their progress. But that first site of life is the most special to me.

Like that first snowflake of the winter season, enjoy the firsts of spring. There are so many that I didn’t mention, so many that mean something to different people. Maybe it’s the first time you grill out for the year, first time you ride your motorcycle, first time you take your classic car for a drive around the block, the first time you put the boat in the water, or the first time head out with the camper for a family weekend. Whatever first time thing you enjoy about spring, celebrate it and make a big deal out of it. After all, like that first snowflake, it only comes around once a year.

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