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It’s warm enough to be outside in a sweatshirt and jeans and sunny enough to wear sunglasses. A rare treat for Erie in March, especially on a weekend. People are making the most of it, having come out of hibernation to walk their dogs, ride bikes, and visit the peninsula.

Living in the snowbelt makes one truly appreciate spring and summer and the sloppy wet (but green) grass, red-winged blackbirds, skunk scent and insects that come with it.

I’m never so elated to see a flying insect as I am in March.

“Oh, a bug!!! I’m happy to see you! Welcome back, little buddy!”

Saturday afternoon, I’m driving down Peach Street, alone and singing loudly, on my way to pick up Kelly from volunteer training at the zoo. I decide to make a spontaneous stop at Tim Horton’s to pick up a couple of hot beverages for us to sip while we walk around the zoo when she is done with her class.

As I pull into a parking space, the sparrows busily constructing nests in every nook and cranny of the checkerboard cement retaining wall scatter. They return in a few seconds and get back to work.

I’m  suddenly struck by the realization that these are likely the best years of my life. These are the days I’ll probably wish to return to. The time in my history that I’d give anything to go back to.

Before the kids leave home. Before the wrinkles really set in. Before our parents are elderly. Before I don’t have anyone to take anywhere.  Before the pets get old and die.

We have jobs that pay us enough money to pay the bills. All of our family members are (relatively) healthy. I can still run a sub-8:00 pace in a 5K. The girls are gaining independence, but they still need and want to hang with us. They’re old enough to participate in science competitions and sing in musicals and volunteer at the zoo, but still young enough to cover the driveway in chalk drawings and spend their afternoon riding bikes with the neighbor kids.

I feel like holding my breath. Stopping time right here. Everyone freeze!

But, of course, it doesn’t work that way. The changing seasons are a constant reminder of the passage of time.

For many, autumn is the season of thanksgiving. But, for me, it’s always been spring when I’m filled with joy, gratitude, and respect for the relentless changing nature of life…made all that more precious by the knowledge that winter will surely come again.



About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.

“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”