MATTHEWS: Hello, spring 

A bee searches for pollen on a flower during a sunny spring day. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Why, hello there, springtime, you gorgeous thing, you. 

Though most of the groundhogs here in North Carolina and Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, predicted six more weeks of winter, you arrived ahead of schedule this year. It was “too early,” of course, for those who enjoy the winter months, but just in time for those of us who crave the warm weather, soft breezes and the lovely sights and sounds the beginning of spring typically brings. 

Temperatures have been as high here as the low 80s in recent weeks, and though we’re expecting cooler weather to make a return this week, we know those days won’t last for long. 

And we’re glad. 

With the early appearance of spring has come a flurry of activity at the bird feeder, with traffic jams galore and birds of all varieties including cardinals and bluebirds impatiently waiting on nearby tree branches for their turn at the trough. We get entertained by the songs they “sing” while they’re biding their time. 

The squirrels, meanwhile, have been stymied by the squirrel baffle on the shepherd’s hook, but nevertheless have been on standby to munch on what’s fallen to the ground. After that, they spend a lot of time chasing each other and jumping from tree to tree. 

Mom’s dogwoods, redbuds and white cherry trees are blooming beautifully, and the pink and white azaleas that dad planted all those years ago are threatening to blossom as well. 

Accordingly, the bumblebees are already revving their little engines. 

With so much sunshine and rain, we had to have our grass cut early this year, at the beginning of March. Needless to say, the dandelions were not amused. 

With so many birds all around, some of the neighborhood cats have been meandering around just to “check on” things. Mom and I joke that they were sent there by our beloved Muffie cat, who is no longer with us, to check on us and to protect the house. 

We haven’t seen any bunnies just yet but I figure it’s only a matter of time, seeing as though the Easter bunny is already making preparations for all he has to do on Easter Sunday next month. 

Mom’s last chemo treatment is scheduled for the same week that spring officially starts, and one thing she says she wants to do after her treatments are over is for us to spruce up the porch with some new patio furniture, decor and plants, as colorful and lively as we can get everything. 

We’re even contemplating the possibility of putting in a flower bed. 

She’s eager to get strong enough to enjoy the outdoors again and has been inspired to do so in part by the frenzied chorus of activity in the backyard that she sees through the French doors each morning. 

That’s one of the many good things about spring. It gives people a renewed sense of purpose and gets them motivated to reconnect with family, neighbors, their community and nature. 

Most commonly, it gives people strong cases of “spring fever,” as explained in Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer, Detective”: 

“Don’t you know what that is? It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” 

I’d say that sums things up perfectly. 

Thanks for the early start this year, spring. Now stick around for a while, won’t you? 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.