Janet Sheridan: Spring becoming summer

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Janet Sheridan

What a glorious ride we share as our world transitions from the gray bluster of early spring to the green warmth of new summer: a Craig miracle that depends on Mother Nature more than the calendar.

In a gentled environment of bird song and sunshine, we welcome the familiar signs of spring becoming summer: the paper’s annual editorial urging us to clean up our properties, lines of dirty vehicles waiting at car washes to shed their coats of winter grime and floating puffs of cotton exhaled by trees sighing happily as the sun warms their winter-weary branches.

We take happy note of the peeping chicks at Murdoch’s waiting for adoption, the first meeting of the commendable Craig Beautification Committee, water gushing into the pools at Veterans Memorial Park, newborn calves and ponies dotting outlying fields, and the bustle at local nurseries in preparation for plant-crazed customers who can’t wait to have dirt under their fingernails.

We smile at the antics of children barely able to contain themselves as summer advances.

For many years I experienced the spirit-popping anticipation ushered into schools by spring’s promise of summer: in classrooms that suddenly seem small and confining, students anticipate relief from the responsibilities of school, and teachers pray for continued cool weather.

Both look forward to the rest and rebuilding of summer vacation before the August excitement of beginning anew.

I remember those feelings as I watch the after-school parade pass my house: clusters of middle school girls pause on corners to giggle and wait for the bicycle-riding boys that pursue them.

Moms push strollers, encourage toddlers to keep up, and listen to the talkative students they collected; responsible older brothers threaten their dawdling siblings, admonishing them to “Get a move on or I’m going to leave you, and I’m not kidding!”

High school students are more invisible, having abandoned walking and bicycles for cars and pickups that blast bits of bass-heavy music from open windows.

But, when I catch a glimpse of a driver’s face, behind trendy sunglasses, I recognize the eternal up-swelling of relief older students feel as a high school year ends and summer beckons.

Perhaps graduation ceremonies best represent the season’s spirit of change and promise as they officially announce, “You’ve been defined for several years by a familiar set of circumstances.

After today, you’ll have the opportunity to redefine yourself yet again.”

When I buy graduation cards or attend ceremonies, I think of the fluffed-up baby birds I watch graduate in my backyard.

Each spring, they launch themselves out of their nests to take their first flight, usually of short duration and questionable form.

I laugh at their awkward, swing-flapping landings — many of which are aborted at the last moment — and cheer their growing confidence.

Then comes the day when they soar, swoop, and land smoothly with only their molting feathers identifying them as rookies.

All that is missing during their heady transition from wide-beaked babes to fearless flyers is a cap and gown. So we ease into summer enjoying the longer days and bursts of nature that change our landscape.

Sometimes our high spirits are dampened by a summer that sulks and withdraws for a few days, a minor setback we expect in Craig — as those who plan Grand Olde West Days could confirm.

With each spring-to-summer transition, those of us who are older realize that the carousel of life we’re on spins faster every year, and that we have fewer rotations remaining.

We no longer anticipate bountiful opportunities for growth and change as we watch spring change to summer, but we count each day as precious.

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