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Spring: Bursting Out Nearly All Over


Spring is here. Not officially, of course. Spring doesn't officially begin until March 20. But this weekend we in the Washington area enjoyed what you might call a "soft launch": temperatures in the 70s, no rain, the final dregs of last week's snow consigned to the storm drains. Today looks to be even better: a little cooler but fewer clouds.

It will, however, take a few days to get used to Daylight Saving Time. It's, what, 8 a.m. now? But my body thinks it's 7 a.m. We were all a bit confused last night and the next few days will be spent wondering if the clock we're looking at is one we moved forward or one we missed. Many of us, unable to change the dashboard display on the minivan or the readout on the DVD player, will spend the next few months looking at a blinking "12:00."

snowflowers.jpgA single daffodil has bloomed in our backyard, close to the house, where it's warmest. And we have lots of those little white things. (What are they? Snowdrops? Sno-Caps?)

But spring is more than the angle of the sun in the sky and the flowers poking through the loam. I was irritated over the weekend that every person in southern Montgomery County had decided to walk and ride their bikes on my path. I'm out there just about every day rain or shine, snow or sleet. Such are the demands of owning a dog. But just let the mercury get above 50 and suddenly the place is swarmed. I imagine some of the dogs I saw haven't been outside since September.

Perhaps spring begins the first time you go for a long, lazy walk or lay down some mulch. What do you think?

Journalism, RIP?
Do I really think journalism is about to die, as it might appear in my column today? No, not at all. It's obviously a little scrap of fiction. I wanted to somehow get down on paper all the angst I've been noticing over the last few months.

The column was very much a newspaperman's lament. I don't really think the end of newspapers will be the end of journalism, or even that there will be an end to newspapers any time soon. But I do think it's perfectly acceptable to be saddened by what's happened to so many newspapers and the men and women who work at them.

I blog, I shoot video for the Web, I Twitter, I welcome "user-generated content." These are all valuable technologies, but they are different from a newspaper. I won't be bullied by new media proselytizers into being made to feel embarrassed by my occasional nostalgia.

By John Kelly  |  March 9, 2009; 9:10 AM ET
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For me, spring begins when my tree pollen allergies set in. (Otherwise, I would vote for the bike, but in several recent years there have been freakily warm days when I could ride in December or January.)

Posted by: Janine1 | March 9, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I mulched my gardens this weekend and planted some pansies. I got poison ivy from the mulch though. I see those darn bugs with the red-spotted black wings were out in full force too.

Posted by: justhere | March 9, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

when there's that crisp, cool, but warm at the same time feel in the air, and when the birds wake you up rather than the alarm clock. when your 19 mo old daughter gleefully toddles down the sidewalk, then pauses, cocks her head, hand to her ear, and says, "boyd! Boyd!"

Posted by: alisoncsmith | March 9, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Crocuses. I'm pretty sure that's what the white flowers are.

This weekend I noticed the maples blooming, some daffodils, lots of bushes budding. Some grasses greening up, too.

Spring, for me, always starts when the flowers begin to bloom. Given that temperatures in the mid-60s can happen in January (I remember a New Years day a couple of years ago that hit 70) I really can't say that wearing shorts, flip-flops, or other warm weather clothing is a sign of spring. Heck, even motorcycle riding is not diagnostic.

But flowers are.

Posted by: wiredog | March 9, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

FREEDOM! The anticipation before Spring Break is palpable.

Posted by: iremembrmama | March 9, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

For me, spring begins when I push open a door or take a step outside and feel a soft, gentle breeze against my cheek instead of a bone-chilling arctic blast.

Posted by: khk918 | March 9, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

For me it's when the crocuses bloom or tulips show their heads. My tulips are up about four inches. I come from New Englnad -- there tulips happen long before short or sundresses!

I think the white flowers in your picture are called snowdrops, they are not crocuses

Posted by: HistoryAnn | March 9, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

They are definitely NOT snowdrops. Probably not crocuses, either. If my bulb catalog were handy and the picture more definitive an accurate identification could be made.

Posted by: OldLady1 | March 10, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

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