Spring arrived on Whidbey as it often does, in a flurry of the same rain and wind we’ve endured all winter, punctuated by that first squishy step in the mud when we exit the car for another day of work; followed by a surprise snow storm Friday.
The seasons are fixed by astronomers, based on something to do with the earth’s axis and rotation. We’d get into this more but don’t want to help the high school seniors pass their new state exams.
In our estimation, spring arrives on Whidbey Island when the alder leaves uncurl and everything becomes green again, even the spots between the fir trees. That hasn’t happened yet and while we see blossoms, they’re from imported plants. The blooming of the wild rhododendrons is another sign of spring on Whidbey, followed by the fragrant wild roses that grow in the sunny spots along many county roads.
Our spring could be delayed until all this starts happening in April, May and June. Why not just pick the midway point and declare May 15 the first day of spring on Whidbey?
There is precedent for this, as Congress sets Daylight Savings Time on a whim, so let’s do the same with spring which isn’t nearly as annoying. Nobody will have to set their calendars days ahead. The island’s three mayors and its three county commissioners could meet each year and decide which day should mark the arrival of spring. It doesn’t have to be May 15 every year, there could be a ceremonial mud measuring in March mixed with others signs and portents, like the height of grass on an unfertilized lawn. In case of a tie among the six elected decision-makers, which is all too predictable, let the tie be broken by Whidbey’s Conductor of Fun, Jim Freeman. It’s winter when he’s amusing crowds indoors at auctions and musical productions, so when he first works outdoors, it could mark the beginning of spring.
This in fact is our resolution. Let our Conductor of Fun declare when spring begins and lead parades through Langley, Coupeville and Oak Harbor. It can all be done in a single day. Chambers could widely advertise our own Whidbey Island Spring, and tourists could spend their money in the warmth when leather wallets are looser and easier to open.
Right now, spring is just a date on a calendar. In the future, let’s make it our own.