So, is Spring here or not? From the picture above, it sure looks like it. This weekend we were celebrating Spring at the Christian Women’s Conference of Middle Tennessee, coordinated by Mary Ann Davis. The theme was “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” It can’t get more “Spring-ish” than that! The flowers on the tables and in the wheelbarrows brightened our spirits and the room filled with 250+ women. I shared the stage with two inspirational women of God, Patty Howell and Catherine Daugherty. The sun was shining and we had a great time!
The next day temperatures dropped and this morning snow dusted my deck!
Is it Spring, or not? It seems that’s always the question this time of year in Middle Tennessee. Our weather is predictably inconsistent and by the time we’re sure winter is finally over, the heat of summer has started crowding in on our porch time with brow-mopping humidity.
Right now crocus and daffodils are blooming. The grass is growing. Bradford pears and black locust display their white flowers in manicured yards and on the wooded hillsides. Redbud trees and maples are starting to show bits of purple and red. Bees are buzzing and birds are singing. And I’m bundled up under a blanket!
Yep, we’re in Tennessee.
To top it off Easter is early this year. So naturally we’re hesitant to invite the Easter bunny to hop in for a visit. In the back of our minds we suspect there may be a snow man lurking in the bushes just waiting to pounce on our Easter eggs scattered like colorful leaves on the lawn. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to don a dark heavy coat and boots to cover up my bright Spring outfit because a late cold front or snow storm was blowing an icy farewell kiss on Easter Sunday.
In Hawaii I never thought about the weather. It was always the same: sunny with a high of 82-85 and a low of 70-72. The 2-3 degree variance was the difference between summer and winter! Moving back to Tennessee was an adjustment to my thin blood, not to mention my pocketbook when I had to buy a winter wardrobe!
Before I became a beekeeper I never paid much attention to the weather — except to dress accordingly and drive carefully on wet or icy roads. Now I’m more attuned to temperature changes and rainfall amounts — because those things affect the quality and quantity of the flowers that bloom, which affect the bees — and my honey crop.
Early Spring is actually a critical time for bees. The queen has begun laying lots of eggs in anticipation for the coming nectar flow, but with the cold nights the colony has to be large enough to cover the brood to keep it warm (a steady 93 degrees). That means there also has to be enough pollen and nectar gathered to feed all those babies the 12,000 feedings a day each one needs. So I’m learning to watch the signs in the seasons in order to know if I need to give my girls more food.
Experienced farmers monitor rain gauges and take notes of the seasons. They’re so good at noticing their surroundings they can often tell you long before hand how good the harvest will be. I’m learning to appreciate their keen awareness of nature and the seasons. For me, it’s too early to tell whether we’ll have a good crop of honey. Right now, we’re just praying our bees continue to build up quickly, but not so quickly that they swarm. It’s a delicate balance in this transitional time for the bees and for me.
That’s why I want to learn to slow down, because some transitions are easy to miss. The signs are small or slow or quiet and if we’re not careful we’ll whiz by them without a second glance. But this year I’d like to take a moment to remember and appreciate the old season while I begin to look ahead to the new.
When we’re in a transition it feels like there’s something tangible in the air. You can almost touch it. It’s as if everything is holding its breath and inhaling deeply at the same time.
So we waffle back and forth from anticipation to anxiety and back again like rockers on a porch. But when the season does change we begin to settle back into a routine. We can relax. There are no surprises. We know where we are and what to expect. Life becomes predictable again. And that wonderful moment of uncertainty is gone.
I want to encourage you to take notice of the seasonal markers around you in the next few weeks. Something old is passing away. Something new is coming. And we shouldn’t let the moment pass.
It’s no coincidence that Passover (and Easter) come at the change of seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere we’re moving from winter to spring. My friends in the Southern Hemisphere are shifting from fall to winter. No matter what season you’re coming into, Easter marks a change.
It’s truly an “iffy” time. After all, we are in Tennessee.