“If You Want to See Spring, Don’t Look for It,” column for March 12, 2013

Things are not always what they seem. I know this.

I’ve known it all my life, ever since that cold December night when I was 5, and noticed that the man who came pounding on my grandmother’s door in a tacky red suit with a fake white beard, proclaiming himself to be Santa, bore an odd resemblance to my Uncle Harry.

Moreover, I noted after a quick look over his shoulder, that he was driving, not a sleigh, but a brand-new Buick, and in the company of my Aunt Iris, better known as “Weedie,” who was not the sort of woman you’d ever expect to see hanging on Santa’s arm.

That was my first “things are not always what they seem” experience. There have been countless others over the years. Here is my most recent.

Monday morning, soon after my husband left for work, I was knocking back a much-needed second cup of coffee when I looked out the window and saw to my surprise a man I did not know, talking on his cellphone while standing fully clothed in, yes, the deep end of our swimming pool.

I shouldn’t say he was fully clothed. I assumed as much — at least, I certainly hoped so — but all I could honestly see above the rim of the pool was the top of his head covered with a baseball cap and the cellphone that was glued to his ear.

I took a swig of coffee, rubbed my eyes, tried my best to focus and ventured another look.

Still there. OK, stay calm, I told myself, assess the situation.

He did not appear to be in (a) immediate danger; (b) major discomfort or (c) any rush at all to get out of the pool.

What was I supposed to do? Should I offer him breakfast? A towel? A robe?

Finally, the coffee kicked in and I remembered. The pool had been drained two days ago for cleaning and repairs. He was there to acid-wash its walls.

I told you that story (against my better judgment and I will probably regret having done so) to tell you this: I am no fan of daylight saving time.

Those of us who are not morning people — and we all know who we are — should not be expected to wake up an hour earlier than usual and pretend everything is fine and dandy.

Everything is not fine and dandy. How can it possibly be fine and dandy if you can look out your window and see a perfectly nice man cleaning your pool and think to yourself — if only for a few frantic moments — that he’s a lunatic about to join you for breakfast?

For me, there are only two good things about daylight saving time. First, you get that extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day, which is always a pleasure, unless you have to drag kids inside to do their homework and eat dinner and go to bed in broad daylight.

Second, and more important, it means that spring is finally, blessedly, blissfully, thankfully, almost here. I can’t wait.

This winter, for some reason, has seemed unusually long and cold and dark. If it wasn’t in fact, it certainly was in feeling.

I’m over it. I was over it by New Year’s. I’m ready for balmy days, lingering sunsets, baby birds, bare feet, baseball …

My granddad used to say that spring is God’s way of making everything new again.

I remembered that the spring after he died and in all the springs that have followed. Still, after all these years, it’s a memory that makes me smile, one I never want to forget.

Each year I look for signs of spring — budding trees, nesting birds, wildflowers blooming in the desert. Sometimes the signs seem far away. But things are not always what they seem.

If you want to see spring, don’t look for it. Close your eyes, be still and listen. The surest sign of it can’t be seen. It is heard and felt in the quickening beat of a heart becoming new.



  1. Kim Thirkell says

    The “if you want to see Spring, don’t look for it” column ran in today’s Salina Journal. The talk of Spring reminded me of something my little 5 year old granddaughter, Isabella, said to me the other day. “Grandma, you were right, Spring is almost here. The trees are hatching!” Love your columns and loved seeing you here in Salina, Kansas on November 11 of last year.

  2. Marilyn Kirby says

    A note from another of your friends “at home,” or at least your 2nd home after your youth in the Carolinas (hope your current 3rd home won’t be forever and you’ll return to us one year). I am one of those who welcome DST to pull me out of the winter doldrums so I can be renewed and turn the page to begin a new chapter, a special blessing now in my “golden years.” This week we’re having early summer, in the mid-70s and low ’80s. Consequently, as with last year, Mother Nature is so very confused, all the fruit trees in blossom, wild flowers beginning to color the countryside. Last year we had no fruit because winter returned following “early spring,” and the beautiful blossoms froze; same will happen this year. And, last year, we had snow the first week in June, followed by summer temps a week later. And since when do we have tornadoes in California? It’s becoming all to common, along with near hurricanes, and definite cyclones. I’m a Golden State native, and Mother Nature isn’t the only one confused. Hope you didn’t scare the pool guy when you gave a cheerful “good morning” in your robe and curlers, lol. Luv ya!

  3. Alice M. Anderson says

    Hi, Rose-a- Sharon, It is I, AlicemariefromTennessee, Spring is almost here in Morada and I’m almost over my near death experience with Pneumonia, January 15. Spent 5 days in hospital getting rid of it, followed by 2 weeks of rehab. I’m so happy that I was able to beat “the old person’s blessing”, this time! It was so satisfying to see all 3 of my offspring working as a team for my recovery. I am truly blessed.

  4. Pam Dozier says

    Hello, my friend. I’m not a morning person either. Woke up Monday morning to my cell ringing at 8:30. I tried to sound like I was awake for my son’s “commute call” filling me in on my grandsons’ weekend activities…the eldest broke a 5-minute mile in his high school track meet! After opening the bedroom slider, climbing back in bed with The Herald and a cup of coffee, I heard the birds…REALLY heard the birds (so did the cat). I ventured out to the deck and inspected the plants. New red growth sprouting on the roses. Rosemary blooming, smelling divine. A hummer at the feeder. And, thank goodness, no strange man! Spring is springing. Everything’s new again and I love it! My love to you and Mark. Let’s get together when you’re back in the ‘hood. Lunch at Red House? Music at Nick’s? xo

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