The Thing About Spring

The thing about spring is that it’s not my favorite season. In fact, it’s probably my least favorite.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate budding flora or warming temperatures. It’s more of an emotional reaction. Clear, cool, breezy spring days with puffy white clouds against a blue sky leave me feeling a little melancholy. Sometimes, it’s almost too calm and mild, making me wish for a hot, sultry day or a heavy snow fall. It probably goes back to some deep negative associations from my past — but enough about youthful angst. Actually, there are plenty of things that I do like about spring.

Spring is a nice time to visit wineries here in Northern California to sample a few vintages and get a glimpse of buds on the vines.

"Growing vines are more good things about spring in the Napa Valley at Tedeschi Family vineyard"

Springtime in the Napa Valley at Tedeschi Vineyard

I enjoy an occasional walk in the spring rain. On a late afternoon last spring, the rain created a moody San Francisco effect.

"Walking in the rain on a spring day in San Francisco"

A rainy spring day in San Francisco

Taking desert road trips in the spring means that you’ll see cactus flowers in bloom.

"Spring blooms in the desert with cactus flowers in Arizona"

Cactus flowers, Arizona desert

Spring means that it’s time for going to AT&T Park to see the San Francisco Giants.

"San Francisco Giants playing at AT & T Park"

A sure sign of spring — San Francisco Giants baseball at AT & T Park

In spring, you can sit outdoors while enjoying tea and dessert in lovely settings like the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.

"Enjoying dessert on the terrace at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco in the spring"

Jasmine tea and cheesecake at Golden Gate Park

And of course, St. Patrick’s Day is in the spring! Well, just a few days off from the official beginning of spring anyway.

On March 17th, I like to wear a little green, listen to Irish music, tell Irish jokes and have a pint. In my 20s back in Chicago, I was known to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a big way, but those stories will remain secret until published posthumously in my memoirs.

"Greenery of the season - Clover and cactus"

Clover and cactus

I’m happy that I was able to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day with my parents for many years, too. It was always a big holiday in our family. After all, I’m a “Sweeney”. Mr. TWS is not a Sweeney by blood, just by marriage. In fact, he’s not even Irish, but he does enjoy a good pint of Guinness.

One of my fondest memories is about being in New York for St. Patrick’s Day. Like millions of people, I’d seen the parade on television, but in 2006 I was there in person and with a great vantage point right up front on Fifth Avenue. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits. I was talking to a woman from County Clare, Ireland who was as thrilled as I was to be experiencing the holiday in New York and gave me a souvenir ribbon to wear. What luck of the Irish to get a souvenir from a real Irish person while at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in NYC, second only to Chicago (where I’ve lived) as a great place in the United States to be on March 17th.

Sadly, I have no pictures from the parade that day and there’s really no excuse. It was a beautifully clear day and we owned cameras. We missed a great opportunity to get a photo of Hillary Clinton (Senator from New York at the time) who was one of the officials walking in the parade. As she walked by, I called out, “Hey, Hillary!”. She looked over, smiled and waved. And there we were — without a camera.

Mr. TWS has much more romantic notions about spring.

"Lots of blossoms on tree in Wisconsin in the spring"

Flowering tree and a travel blogger in Wisconsin

Here’s what he thinks about spring in his own words.

"Trees blooming in Wisconsin in the spring"

Spring blossoms in Wisconsin

Part of why I like spring goes back to long, severe winters of my youth in Northern Wisconsin. Spring was the return of life and warmth; it signaled longer sunnier days. That wonderful change was best captured in the movie Doctor Zhivago, where the horribly bleak and desolate winter was contrasted with the scene of the field full of daffodils; that scene change captures perfectly why I like spring.

"Lovely spring blossoms in Wisconsin"

Lovely spring blossoms in Wisconsin

I really enjoy flora as well and spring makes me think of the many types of flora unique to spring, whether the green of leaves emerging on trees and fresh grass or the many different flowers of spring – lilacs and lily of the valley, which were my favorites in Wisconsin; white and the many shades of pink blossoms on trees; tulips and daffodils.

"Colorful flowers in fields and nurseries in Half Moon Bay is a wonderful thing about spring""

Colorful foxglove in the fields of Half Moon Bay, California

"Pretty in pink, spring flowers in Oak Park, Illinois"

Pretty in pink, spring flowers in Oak Park, Illinois

In California, where we live now, the spring isn’t quite as defined but it feels like spring starting in January through May, and there are many different blossoms that emerge through the entire period from the yellow acacia to the blossoms on many different types of fruit trees. In California the greening is a bit reversed. The hills and meadows turn green with the rains of winter and then turn gradually tan through the spring.

"Sprintime blossoms along the Hudson River in Manhattan at the Cloisters"

Blossoms along the Hudson River in Manhattan

And that is how Mr. TWS and I feel about spring! Is it your favorite season? Or not?

This blog post is my contribution to the spring-themed blog carnival taking place right here on Traveling with Sweeney in March. Take a look at great spring stories from our travel blogging friends here: You Give Me Fever — Spring Fever. We’re also linking up to the Boomer Women Travelers “Spring Fever” round up.


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21 thoughts on “The Thing About Spring

  1. Leigh

    I love spring for the return of colour in my life. And I’m very envious of my niece whose birthday is on March 17th – and we share some Irish blood. I’d love to be in NYC for a big parade though I think I’d pass on the green beer.
    I do understand why spring isn’t your favourite season. It doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind in this part of the world re temperatures – snow, heat you name we get it. And there’s a waiting game happening in the mountains – as it’s not prime hiking season.
    Lovely photos in this post.

  2. budget jan

    I am glad that I like Spring. I have no bad associations, in fact we do most of our travelling in Spring, so I have lots of great associations. Love all you beautiful spring flowers. The cactus looks exactly like the one we saw in Ait Benhaddou in Morocco.

  3. jenny@atasteoftravel

    Spring and autumn are my favourite seasons. I do not like the extreme temperatures we have in Perth for summer or the cold of winter. I do love Spring flowers and the burst of colour they bring. From your gorgeous photos I would have assumed that you like Spring too!
    I loved your mention of the St Patrick’s Day Parade. I was leaving New York on the day of the parade many many years ago and remember popping up to 5th Ave to see a sea of green waiting for the parade to start! Unfortunately this is all I saw as my plane was leaving not long after!

  4. santafetraveler

    I love spring- one of the reasons is that I’m not a fan of winter and it means it’s over. Spring and fall are the times I love most each year, but fall means that winter is lurking and so I don’;t love it quite as much as spring- Also, spring is the beginning of life and fall the end. Let’s hear it for spring!

  5. Sere@LightofWorldPhoto

    Spring is actually not my most favorite season. I have got to go with Fall for my favorite season but as a fellow, former Chicagoan I do have to agree with you on how BIG St. Patrick’s Day is there! I have absolutely no Irish in me(all Sc andinavian blood haha) but on St. Pat’s Day in March, in Chicago everybody is irish right? I do LOVE spring flowers though and the warmer days are nice, after a cold midwestern winter. I try to get out to gardens any chance I get to see the flowers bloom and the pop of color they give a landscape. I would have to say that as far as photography goes spring is addicting. love your pictures!

  6. Lisa @ Gone With The Family

    I would have to agree with Mr. TWS – I love spring because it marks the end of winter. I love the gradual warming of the days, the flowers starting to bloom and more daylight. St. Patrick’s Day is very big in my family as well. My younger daughter desperately wanted to celebrate it in Dublin this year but we couldn’t make the scheduling work. I’ve promised her that we will definitely spend St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland someday soon!

  7. Just One Boomer (Suzanne)

    It’s not that I don’t like spring. In fact, I really like spring, but I think it’s official start date on March 20th is overly optimistic in much of the U.S., Canada, and northern Europe. I think cities and state should be able to declare their own first day of “real spring” based on spring actually springing evidenced by appropriate blooms and birds.

  8. Sofie

    My favorite season is definitely summer, but spring is the follow up.
    I need heat and sunshine to function. Meaning I’m practically a zombie by now:D

  9. Linda

    So, I am sitting here today and actually cursing the season! In fact it started here already really, but it also brings rain usually, and that’s this weekend! It might be all we get all year, but I am so cold! It isn’t cold really, I know that. It’s just that I don’t have the clothes for this! Roll on summer!

  10. Nancie

    Coming from a cold country (Canada), and now living in a cold country (Korea)…(I must be nuts!), I have a great love affair with spring. It will probably be a least another month here before we see the gray of winter disappear, and I cannot wait to see some green, and some beautiful flowers like the ones in your photos!

  11. Denise

    That;s strange, though I do understand as I didn’t used to like summer because of a whole lot of stuff which happened during past summers. Then I had one amazing one, and haven’t looked back since :). My least favourite part of the year is still the Christmas season!

  12. Patti

    Except for the sneezing, I enjoy spring because it always feels like a rebirth, but Fall is my overall favorite season. I love the Indian summer evenings and I love to kick my feet through piles of leaves, which always makes my husband laugh and shake his head at me. Maybe I didn’t get to do that enough as a kid, but I love the crunch under my feet. :o)

  13. Michele @ Malaysian Meanders

    That picture of the clover and cactus is my favorite. It’s a very unusual combination. Spring is one of my favorite seasons. I don’t like the cold, and I love that spring means that the cold spells are over. At least, that’s how I felt when I lived in Texas. Now I’m in Malaysia which is the land of perpetual summer. I’d really appreciate a nice, cool spring day right now.

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