Silence seems to be the trademark song of winter. The very things that make winter winter—like snow, ice, barren trees, and the light blue-gray of the day’s backdrop—all conjure up silence in my head. Summer brings balance because summer’s song is loud! Summer’s melodies are the sounds of carnivals, chirping birds, baseball games, splashing pools, crickets chirping, and cicadas screeching. Fall’s song plays music of work and harvest. Combines thrashing, brush fires crackling, and school buses whirring their gears as they pick up and deliver their precious loads. I love all these songs. But my favorite seasonal song happens in spring. Spring’s music is the symphony, the classical build up, the opera of seasons.
Maybe it’s because of how spring comes to us each year. Before spring’s arrival, the weather has been cold—real cold. It’s never so cold as when February teases us with 70° days just so March can slap us back into reality with a few inches of ice and freezing rain. That silent song is almost deafening. And then one day, it happens. Suddenly, the sun shines sweetly on our faces, the temperatures once again approach the seventies, and as you drive down the road with your windows down, head leaning out like a dog with his head sticking over the side of the back of the pickup truck, hair whipping in your face, you hear it, the beginning of the song: spring peepers. It’s like a symphony of froggies. Oh, that sound! I’ve stopped my car in the middle of the road, turned off the engine, and basked in that sound many times. If it’s too early, I lament and say, “Poor things! They think it’s time.” I worry that they won’t get back under the ground soon enough. But if it’s more like the end of March or beginning of April, I always think, “Man! I want some fried catfish!”—because my Grandma and Grandpa Davis always had fish fries on warm spring days.
Spring’s song only starts with the peepers. Before long, the melody builds a little with the robins chirping and singing their songs. The little birds that sang only at sunrise in the winter now harmonize in this amazing chorus of warmth and sparkle. Their trills and chirps sound like bright pink, yellow, and purple—and sometimes you think you hear the smell a fresh rain. The night is filled with those peepers again, and later on they’ll be joined by crickets and bullfrogs. Real gardeners start planting gardens in February, with things like lettuce, onions, and spinach. But if you’re a novice gardener, you’ll wait to start breaking ground when the weather is warm, at which time another part of the opera will begin: tractors and tillers. It’s not uncommon to hear the rhythm of a chug-chug-chugging tractor in the spring. Go ahead and plant those tomatoes and peppers, but don’t you dare plant the peas until you hear the song of the whippoorwill.
The spring symphony reaches its crescendo on that day when the song includes the birds singing, the spring peepers peeping, the tractors chugging, and the lawn mowers buzzing. Once lawnmowers are part of the soundtrack, you can rest assured that spring has sprung for the year. These sounds mean that the silence is over. Your wardrobe will only become lighter, your house will smell fresher and cleaner because those windows will come up, (unless you are allergic to pollen, in which case the hum of air conditioning will become part of the musical fills of your own little concert.) Little purple flowers will glow like soft confetti in the first bushy, uncut grass in the yard. Hyacinths and jonquils suddenly flourish and surprise with their bright heads and sweet fragrances. The trees force out their first little buds and sing a hymn that tells us, once again, that there is life after death.
There is a palpable energy in the air from the nearing sun which draws us outside, where we feel that warm spring blanket of air wrap us up—and it transports us to the spring concerts of our childhood. For the weary sun worshiper whose skin has faded to that nice mother-of-pearl color, the sun sprays the first bright pink burn on their arms, legs, noses, and cheeks. This pink will settle into the warm tan of summer, but it’ll take a couple more sore days first. No wonder people fall in love in spring; they come alive for the first time in months, with all their senses reaching that impressive high note in the happiest chorus of the year. Spring’s lyrics are filled with new hope: hope for the infant gardens and their brave little bright green sprouts, all in a row, against the brown background of the soil; the young chickens, strutting, clucking, plucking those first green shoots and scratching in the newly tilled soil, who’ve yet to gift us with their first little eggs; the baby calves that kick and bounce with each other, butting heads for a minute, before running back close to mama. So much hope and life, all set to the melodies of the beautiful song of spring.