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And happy spring, folks: in about 43 minutes here light and dark will be almost perfectly balanced for a few seconds, the sun will hover over the celestial equator, and then we’ll move on into another season, one I like much better than winter. Point of Aries.

I love days like this. I get all geeked out trying to pin down the exact moment, which invariably escapes me as I’m in the shower, or driving, or sleeping, or on the phone, or whatever. I keep intending it to be a nice 30-second pause in my day on either side of the year, but I rarely hit that nail on the head.  One year I even tried that egg-balancing trick, which I doubt would have worked even if I hadn’t been off by a  good four minutes. Never tried flushing the toilet to see if the water swirls the other way –somehow celebrating a holiday that’s all about new beginnings by standing around a toilet seems just a wee bit whacked to me– but I know people who have.

Anyway, I thought I’d go for a nature-themed confession in honor of the day, so here it is:

I used to believe that the little pine saplings growing all over the land I grew up on got cold during the winter the same way I did, so I’d gather all the old dried grass and branches I could find, pack up some snow, and, er… build houses for them.

Get it? Tree houses?

Leave me alone, I was only 8.

Come to think of it, I had a lot of weird ideas about trees: I thought oaks were rare and special (I think I got this from my cousin, who was probably confusing them with elms), so I was always picking up handfuls of acorns and planting them elsewhere. You’d think the fact that I was picking up handfuls of acorns might have tipped me off to the fact that the oaks were doing fine, but no. And now they are doing more than fine: the field behind my dad’s house has turned back into a forest since I was a kid, and I’m sure I’m part of the reason for that.

I thought maples were good for sleeping in, and did so on a fairly regular basis in the years between third and fifth grade; I thought birches, of which we had only a few, were the homes of ghosts, and I thought poplar trees were perpetually sad, because their giant leaves (which provided the material for the improvised clothing mentioned in 11 Random Facts, in case you’re wondering –poplar leaves look huge when you’re 9) were shaped like tears. I had a whole system. Every species had some significance for me, even if I didn’t know what it was called.  I would walk outside, wander out back, and be in my own little world of tall, silent creatures with different purposes.

Yep, I was a weird kid all right. Well, that’s not exactly news. I can probably add this to the “how I got myself into this” list, come to think of it: I clearly had a tendency to attach significance to anything happening (or just quietly and innocently going about its business) within range of my eyes and ears and grubby little hands.

Not that that makes me different from any other kid I’ve met, though I think I spent more time outdoors than most of the ones I know today.


Happy Oestara, Easter, Spring, or, hell, just Friday. Here’s to new beginnings.