As a runner, I love the spring. Some days it’s cool and other days it”s warm, but with every run outdoors it seems the trees grow greener and the sky bluer-at least here in North Carolina. This spring has been an especially pleasant one in Charlotte where, although it has been cooler than usual, the colors are lovelier than I can remember (also rainier than ever). I spot certain signs of spring that give me hope for the warmer days ahead…and some signs I don’t welcome at all. Following are 5 signs of spring that tell me, whether I like it or not, that summer is right around the corner…
#1 Caterpillars!!! Hint…not a welcomed sign… Forget the cute little inchworm that you might allow to slowly work its way up your arm after you discover it one day while on a run. No, we are talking about caterpillars hanging from trees in droves! Only green for a short while, these little worms turn brownish black and become larger, sometimes taking over trees as you run under them. The other day after a long run, standing in line in Starbucks, I was approached by a nice man behind me who told me I had a few little inchworms on my back. I smiled politely and then asked him, “how much is a few?” Knowing quickly by the look on his face (and others also in line behind him) that it was way more than I was going to like, I closed my eyes. “Five or six, ” he said. “Get them off me!!…please?” I know that there are years for the locust…here in Charlotte this spring it is the year of the caterpillar….GROSS!
#2 People are nicer. Everywhere I go, whether running outside or running an errand, people are friendlier than usual and genuinely happy to be out and about. Spring in the Carolinas is glorious…and I think the feeling of spring in the air makes everyone a little happier on the inside and it shows on the outside!
#3 Farm stands open for business. The other day, while driving home after a pick up from swim practice (#6), I saw a farm stand that graces the corner of a high-traffic area from late April through the early fall every year… It was open for business! I was almost drooling thinking of the watermelon, peaches, and plums that will soon cover the countertops of this little farm stand that I pass multiple times a day. The next day I was there…buying a seedless watermelon and a bunch of cherry tomatoes. I know it is early for good watermelon, but I couldn’t resist. I wasn’t disappointed! I think most of us look forward to the fresh fruits and vegetables that are abundant beginning this time a year. It’s time to start making salads with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots. I’ll be stopping again this weekend to see what I can find!
#4 More people are outside to workout. This is a good and a bad thing for me. As I have mentioned a few times on this website, I actually prefer cold-weather running to hot-weather running. In the long, cold days of winter, there are often only a few of us runners out on the trails in the dawn hours…but it really never feels lonely. It’s actually kind of nice. So when spring arrives it feels a little like a tourist town just opening for the season. It’s nice to have the company, but I miss the solitary mornings just a little bit.
#5 Rainy days that keep me from a good, morning run. They say April showers bring May flowers, and if that is the case we should have an abundance of flowers this May! Rain has dampened many an early morning run lately as I have gotten up to go out, and I hear the pitter-pattter and then a text message coming in from my friend asking if it is raining as hard where I am as it is where she is. Darn! I am no whimp when it comes to rain…in fact, I love a good, wet run every now and then. But the kind of rain we have had here lately has been cold and hard and not at all conducive to running…even for a self-professed tough girl like me!!!
The signs are all around us revealing that summer is just around the corner…What are some of the signs you see that tell you spring has sprung? As I write this, my three-year old picks a caterpillar off my shirt. Seriously…yuck.