“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

The snow never materialized last night but it did sleet then rain for a short while, and the morning still bears the remnants of the storm though storm seems a bit grandiose a description for a bit of rain and sleet. Our familiar gray skies are back, but the sun has been making quick visits then disappearing to wherever it’s been going for what seems like weeks. I watched the bird feeders while my coffee was dripping, and my suet feeder had a huge guest, a flicker. I also noticed the gold finches are getting brighter. The tops of the hyacinths are appearing above their leaves, and there are several daffodil buds. I think we’re in the two steps forward and only one step back part of spring. It makes me hopeful for one really warm day when I can sit on the deck, close my eyes and fall asleep with the sun on my face.

The perfect day when I was about ten was always in the spring. It was warm and sunny but not hot. I’d wear my spring jacket, my favorite of all jackets. It had a front zipper and was pale pink. The first wearing of that jacket was a symbol back then though symbolism was lost on the young me. I just knew I loved my jacket because it was light and pink and had replaced the heavy, dark winter coats and layers we’d worn for months. Wearing it was the acknowledgment the season had finally changed and winter was passed.

On my perfect day, usually a Saturday, I’d go down the cellar and maneuver my bike out the door and up the stairs. That was never easy. The door faced a wall so the angle was all wrong. I had to lift the front wheel in the air to get the back wheel out. Once up the stairs I’d get on my bike, ride across the side lawn and down the grassy hill, a maneuver forbidden by my dad who’d yell later when he saw the tire marks. I’d always get the how many times do I have to tell you lecture, but the little ride was worth it. My dad just didn’t get how neat it was to start my adventure by going down his small hill. From there, I’d sometimes ride down the big hill on which we lived or I’d take the side street and head toward the field with the horses. I remember how bright the sun seemed and how the trees had buds and the grass was finally turning green. I’d see the colors of the spring flowers blooming above the ground. The air smelled fresh and brand new. I always took my time, not wanting to miss a single thing though I’d taken that same route so many times. I remember feeling joyful and as alive as spring as I rode through the small streets.

I have that same feeling every year on the very first warm spring day even without my bike.

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24 Comments on ““It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Our bikes were kept in the lean-to of the garage. The only acrobatics involved getting them by whatever was kept in there without knocking anything else over. The garage was built in 1920 and was much too small for those 1950’s cars my dad had. But lots of other things were kept in there including a whole workshop and farm equipment. My bikes were big, heavy boy’s bikes that had coaster brakes and huge springs on the front fork. I have no idea where they came from but they were mooses. I was so happy when I finally got a girl’s Schwinn with handlebar brakes. There was also a big hill. Several of them, actually. I lost my brakes on the biggest hill of all and had to throw myself to the curb to stop.

    Rocky is at daycare running off some excess energy. I’m hanging around waiting for Fedex pickup guy. I’ve been amusing myself by looking at my photos from this time last year. There were flowers and green grass then.

    I’ve got some sun. It’s slowly sliding down from Maine, according to the weather man. Maybe you will get some later. Enjoy the day.


    • Hi Caryn,
      I think if we had a garage when I was young it would look the same and have a few doll carriages as well. I know when my parents returned to Stoneham when I was in Africa, they had a similar garage to yours, too small for the car, but big enough for the world with all that had inside.

      My bike was a girl’s bike but it was bug and clunky with foot brakes as well. I think most bikes were like that. I do remember my first English bike as we called the ones with hand breaks. It was sleek and light.

      I can understand losing those handbrakes. They were just those two pieces on each side of the wheel. Good think it wasn’t in traffic.

      We got sun this afternoon, but it is still chilly. I went out and filled the feeders.

  2. Vintage Spins Says:

    It must have been so wonderful growing up in your area, surrounded by hills and fields and even horses!!

    An underground stream ran very near to our house and some years, in the spring, the field behind our house would be flooded. There would be just enough water to float a makeshift raft. I’d pretend that I was Huck Finn.

    • Vintage Spins Says:

      Kat,
      Forgot to sign,

      I love reading your posts and it’s so interesting how they often end up triggering my own memories.

      Marie 😉


      • Marie,
        it always amazes me how many of us did the same stuff growing up, sort of universal fun things. I’l happy mine trigger yours. I love remembering those times.


    • Marie,
      Vintage Spins gave you away so I knew who wrote.

      I loved my town. The field below the house was great for chasing grasshoppers who’d leap into the air as you ran, and we had railroad tracks and a train which still ran. We wandered all over when we were kids.

      A raft is such fun as long as you can keep it level and dry, neither one easy when it is makeshift. Did you use a pole to propel yourselves?

      We too did a raft, and I also thing I was Huck!

  3. Hedley Says:

    I talked to Big Rick last week and not surprisingly he is right on the verge of an earth moving business deal.

    “I need to get my Cannondale down to the shop before we start biking, the gear box is not working properly” says I. “I will pick you up in the Big Rick Mobile” says he. The phone rings on Saturday morning – “The fuel guage is broken, I dont know if I am out of gas” says Big Rick.

    The seasons are changing, the annual (seniors) pass is to be bought and soon Big Rick and I will be putting on the lycra (ok Big Rick) and emerge from hibernation and once again head to Stoney Creek Metro Park and circle the lake, entertained by wild turkeys, joggers and hooters gals displaced now that Spring Training is at an end.

    Once we biked a long way. Today we dont. That is ok


    • My Dear Hedley,
      When do you and Big Rick begin your ritual? Ah, I read the first paragraph and wrote before I saw the rest.

      I chuckled at the Big Rick Mobile. I don’t know him, but it seems perfectly right he call his car that!

      I always look forward to your Big Rick bike rides. It’s fun to hear about what you saw and what Big Rick had to say. I can’t believe we’re back at circle the lake time.

      Yes, it is.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Why without your bike now? Maybe Gracie would appreciate a spring ride too?
    I can’t imagine to live without a bike. I have a solid bike for shopping and transport and a fast one for long distance rides and fun. Both bikes are old (20+40yrs), but the quality is okay and I maintain them every spring.
    Speaking of spring: It’s not here. The easter bunny will freeze to death.


    • Birgit,
      I don’t know why I stopped riding as I do have a bike now, and we have bike trails. I used to go most Saturdays. I’ll have to think about hopping back on!

      Mine is an old one as well, probably needs new tires. I have ridden it as fat as P-Town, over 70 miles away.

      The Easter Bunny won’t be wearing his short jacket for sure!

  5. olof1 Says:

    The ground frost goes down 20 inches so it’s only a few brave snow drops that shows so far here.

    I felt freedom when riding my bike for the first time every spring 🙂 When it only took a few minutes to my friends homes and going down the hills was the best 🙂 Or later on when I was a bit older and biked to our summer house to sleep there for the first night. I usually froze like a dog that night but it was worth it 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Today I realised that deers are creatures of habit. I moved the piles of food closer to the fence, I’ll do that a bit every day now so that the food in the end is outside my garden. The deers just refused to go to the new places and looked so confused when there was no food in the usual places 🙂 They have finally accepted the new spots but I can see that they don’t like it at all 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.


    • Christer,
      Our ground is already soft. My garden has been cleared of debris and the old mulch still looks rich and dark.

      We rode bikes all the time. It was when I could start riding to school that I knew it was officially spring. The school had a green, wooden bike rack to put the bikes and, and, on the warm days, the rack was filled.

      I think most animals are creatures of habit. I know Gracie is though she’ll catch on to a change quickly. if you go slowly, they’ll never figure out the food is being moved.

  6. Bob Says:

    When I was a kid I rode my bike everywhere winter, summer, spring or fall. I kept it in our attached garage next to the side wall. It was a red and white three speed bike with coaster brakes with saddle baskets on the rear fender since I carried my books on the bike to school every day that it didn’t rain. I decorated it with red and white streamers that flowed from the handgrips on the handlebar. In the North part of Dallas we didn’t have many hills but the area just a block north of our house in those days was filled with small pastures containing horses or cows. In the spring and fall I also wore my favorite red jacket which had patches of all sixteen of the major league teams on each side of the zipper front. This was before the expansion of baseball.

    Today was just the kind of day that I would ride my bike into the countryside just a few blocks from my house. Clear skies with light winds and temperatures in the upper 50s.


    • Bob,
      I also rode in winter when there wasn’t any snow. I remember going to the corner store one Christmas Eve day thinking it was far too small an errand for such a big night.

      No one had three speed bikes back when I was a really young kid. They came later. We all had bikes with chains and chain guards and brakes as part of the pedal system. My brother got the first 3 speed in the family. He really needed it as his old bike was the clunkiest of all the bikes.

      I remember those streamers. I always thought they looked so cool when the bike raced and they streamed out behind the handle grip.

      I actually know exactly what jacket you mean. Someone I know had a blue one with all the patches.

      Pretty day you had!

      • Bob Says:

        The coaster brake was part of the pedal system. You braked by pedaling backwards. Newer multi speed racing bikes had more gears which were switched by moving the chain from one larger gear to a smaller one on the outside of the rear axel through a lever on the handle bar. The lever is similar to the one on the three speed variety. The three speed came with the coaster brake had the gearing inside the axel of the rear wheel.

        My previous bike had only one speed and had a tank surrounding the frame that went from below the handle bar to the part below the seat. It was a 20 inch bike and the three speed one was a 26 inch bike. Both bikes were registered with the city in case they were stolen and sported small license plates that had reflective paint, the number and the word DALLAS along with the year. We mounted the plate on the springs at the rear of the seat so that car headlights would reflect on the metal plate and make the bike more visible at night. Did you ever attach playing cards to the frame of the bike with clothespins and have the spokes of the wheels vibrate the cards making a cheap kind of motor sound as the wheel rotated?


      • Bob,
        I never knew that’s what you called back pedaling. I knew how the gears work on the three speed, but my newest bike had far too many gears and I never did figure out the functions of all of them.

        I had a licene too. You had to get it at the police station. It was green and white ad had Stoneham written down the side and the number was in the middle. That license seemed to make my bike official.

        I loved the clicking of the playing cards on the spokes. We used clothespins to attach the cards, the clip kind of pins.

        I had a front basket, and I remember when i’d hit a bump the stuff in my basket would bounce up, and I’d have to make sure they didn’t bounce out.

        I really loved bringing my bike out tor the first time every year.

  7. Coleen Says:

    I had a trike bike, with 2 wheels in the back and one in the front, since I cannot balance on 2 wheels alone. Boy, I wish I still had it!

  8. MT C Says:

    Today is my catch up day. Not that I have been particularly busy, but particularly lazy. Its getting warm again with the temps reaching the 90’s, nights are still cool though and it won’t be long until the unbearable season sets in again.

    Yes, our first warm day was reserved for biking too. Only ours were stored in the entry ‘shed’ between the kitchen hallway and the garage. The dogs lived there too. Our first one at that address was Rufus. He was smart enough to get in and out of the shed whenever he please as the door was really warped and and didn’t really close. We kept old blankets and coats out there for him in the winter and in return he would chew on our bike tires.

    The first riding day was usually a Saturday and a long one. Our Dad would leave some money for us to get the new tires put on at the gas station. Then we would have to wait really a long time until he got home at 2pm. We could get the wheels off ok, but could never get the bearing set right and we had to let him do that and of course he would supervise the rest of the assembly, because we had one instance where one of us (my brother) didn’t do it just right and had a great crash. It was great if you were watching, but I suspect not so great if you were directly involved.

    It seems to me that Rufus would never bother the tires all summer long. Maybe he didn’t care for the taste of new rubber, but the aged stuff never had much of a chance. One winter he ate all the tires that weren’t protected by the frame in some manner. Wonderful kids dog, he used to go fishing too.

    Wanted to say that your new banner is wonderful. It seems to cover all your favorite things. Bright colors, a plane for traveling, some tunes, a cup and best of all a monkey ‘curing’ the beans.

    Carl


    • Carl,
      I usually expect you on a weekend.

      I hate the heat when it is in the 90’s. I stay in my air-conditioned house and look out the window if I want to see the world. I laugh at this now because when I was in Africa it would get over a 100˚, and I’d survive without even a fan.

      Rufus had his own way of thanking you! I figure maybe he got a bit bored in the winter: too cold to spend much time outside so he needed a distraction and your tires gave him that. In the summer he could romp all over the world. It was his idea of a bone. Bet he had no tartar on his teeth!

      I remember only once having to buy a new tire. The patches on the old one got too many so my Dad bought a new one for my bike. I put it on-they were easy in the old days to replace.

      Thanks on the banner. Birgit created it and I was amazed at how much of me she managed to make part of the banner. The colors are those of the Ghanaian flag. Did you notice the spawn of Satan on the cup handle and me on the cup?

      • MT C Says:

        Yes, the “Spawn”, I just now did notice it and your picture on the cup also! About the only things missing might be fried clams and some text books, maybe a couple of cats and a dog in a car! But that would have been really crowed. I think she did a wonderful job and what she included was perfect.

        And did you happen to notice that I finally figured out how to get my Gravitar on here. I am so used to calling it an Avatar, but I guess that was a Yahoo, thing and is most likely ‘righted’ in some way or other. I wish I knew who it belonged to as I’ve had it for years and would really like to reward the artist in some small way. My original searches under comic cowboys brought him up, but never associated with the creator.

        Have a nice Easter. Easter and ham is not very popular in this neck of the woods.

        Carl

      • Kat Says:

        Carl,
        I hadn’t noticed until you mentioned your Gravitar. Mine is used, but I don’t have any recollection how I did it or when. Someone found the one I use and sent it to me.

        I understand Easter isn’t big on your side of the world!

  9. Caryn Says:

    Kat,
    Your reply to Bob reminded me of a cat story. I got one of my cats, Liam, from a high school friend. I put the little black and white kitten in the basket on the handlebars of my bike, closed the top and rode home. When I got home and opened the basket, no kitten. Gone! He must have pushed up the cover and jumped out when I wasn’t looking. My friend and I retraced our path and looked for him but to no avail. I was so upset. When the newspaper office opened on Monday morning I went in to place a lost ad. As I was describing the kitten to the desk editor, she said there was a found ad for a similar kitten that had just been phoned in. The address was on the route I had ridden home. When the woman let me in, there was my kitten snuggled up in a rocking chair with another kitten. She was kind of sad to give him back because she really liked him. He was a charmer. I still think of that woman now and then when I pass that house.


    • Caryn,
      I can only guess how scared the kitten was being bounced out of the basket without any idea where he was. It was nice of that woman to place the ad given how her kitten and yours had already bonded.

      I can’t even begin to imagine the shock when you opened that empty basket!


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