Wednesday, March 18, 2009

J L's signs of spring

Ah, spring. Here in the Great North Wilderness, it can mean many things:
  • the ice going out on the lakes, so people have to remove their ice houses. The ice goes out up north around Memorial Day. Here in the mid-part of the state, it'll go out in March sometime.
  • the change of clothing. Most sweatshirts are put away, turtlenecks are stored, and lightweight sweaters come out. Notice I said 'most sweatshirts'. You still need to keep a few handy for that April snowstorm (yes, there will be a snowstorm, often a blizzard, in April. I've been known to go outside and cover the tulips & daffs with blankets right before the storm hits).
  • the fishing opener (that's in May and yes, there's often ice on the lakes and the Governor's Opener has to be changed to a different lake).
  • robins. Those fat little guys show up in March or April. We have cardinals, jays, and sparkies (sparrows) year-round, but the robins and orioles and hummers are seasonal. The robins show up in March, the other guys don't show up until May or June.
  • color. Here in the Northland, winter is composed of gray, white, black, and dark green (evergreens). Spring usually means COLOR: daffodils, tulips, rhododendrons, dogwoods -- a riot of blooming. Real Green also happens: lawn-green, not 'dull old, nasty looking snow soaked' green. The Real Colors start in late April.
All those are signs of spring, but you want to know what the real sign of spring is? The very firstest sign of spring?

Yep. It's at the gym. I work out every week, three times a week and have for years & years. It's just a normal part of my life. You get used to seeing 'the regulars' -- the same folks who come at the same time you do. We have a little unspoken routine: 'I'll use this machine while you use that one, I'll be working on this side of the gym while you're over there.' We smile at each other, acknowledge the presence of the other, then go about our business. We wear unstylish clothing, sweat and grunt, and are generally there to Get The Job Done.

Spring brings an influx of Newbies. These are those folks who opened up that spring wardrobe, tried on some clothes, and panicked. Yikes! Nothing fits! And swimsuit season isn't that far away! What to do?

Go to the gym. Grunt, groan, moan, and sweat for a few weeks. They bounce from machine to machine, weight to weight, looking for the right one that will give them a solution to 6 months of inactivity. Then the weather really warms, they get distracted by spring chores, and mercifully, they leave and the gym goes back to us Regulars, who are in it for the long haul.

Yes, spring. A time of robins, flowers, people in pain, and warmth. I look forward to it every year.

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