Portland Signs of Spring: Brighter Days Ahead

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Yesterday, as I brewed my morning coffee, a few early rays cast across my kitchen counter. My brain could not compute. Is that… could it be… might it be…. sunshine?

Later, when I stepped outside to feed my chickens, I squinted as the morning sun blocked my vision for a moment, and I heard the chirping of more than just my hens. Does this mean… can it possibly be… dare I hope?

I took a deep, invigorating inhale, and exhaled slowly, with gratitude. Spring is coming.

Yes, it’s February. And there are still many dark, rainy days ahead. But, the signs of spring are beginning to emerge, and, this year, it feels especially important to take a moment to appreciate them.

Cherry Blossoms in front of green house

I was reading the other day about at what point the human mind begins see hope as a dangerous thing. What happens to our souls when we shut down that part of ourselves? With all that we have collectively gone through this past year, at times, the outlook has been very bleak. It seemed risky to even consider things could improve, to dare to even hope.

It is comforting for some things to be certain. No matter how much upheaval we have all experienced, spring WILL happen, and it’s ok to feel its energy begin to stir. And with the wee little morsels of my favorite season ahead, I find I am even beginning to feel hopeful.

How do I know spring is on the horizon?

Winter Daphne

winter daphne plant in bloomI love this particular plant so much that I might have named my daughter after it. Blossoming in the Pacific Northwest in late February, this is often my annual alarm for end-of-winter vibes. Yes, it contains winter in the name, and I recognize the irony there, but to me, that sweet aroma means we’re rounding the corner.

Summer camp madness has started

Ok, so it’s not a natural phenomenon, but the land of summer camp planning almost feels like some sort of other worldly, unexplainable vortex. Portland parents begin creating their summer spreadsheets in February, and the mayhem extends through March and sometimes even April. I associate the annual quest for activities and camps with springtime, even though its focus is (obviously) on the summer.

Whales

The very best of the Oregon whale watching season is February through May, and it’s a beautiful site. If you are planning coastal adventures during this window, be sure to include a trek for some whale spottings in your itinerary. Celebrate spring with the coastal breeze whipping in your face while you marvel at the magnificent creatures of the sea!

Taxes

Again, not a natural phenomenon, but, love it or hate it, springtime is tax season. This year, I promised myself that I will do my taxes while working through the final stages of the cold and rain. Nobody wants to do taxes when the weather is gorgeous! If you haven’t completed yours yet, don’t make yourself miserable by waiting until April and wishing you could be frolicking in the spring air. Make it a signs-of-spring task that is better when completed before the sunshine is here to stay.

Cherry Blossoms

No Portlander can leave out the gorgeous trees lining the river banks and so many streets of our city as a sign that spring has arrived. Blooming generally in March-April, there is simply no way to describe their presence as anything less than magical.

Daylight

Yes, yes. There is always some daylight. But it’s longer, brighter, and warmer in the spring. I have already started to notice the bright hours are stretching. The Spring Equinox will be March 20, marking a day and night of equal length, and then it’s smooth sailing until June.

What are your favorite signs of spring?

I asked our contributors to shout out their favorite happenings this time of year.

Crocuses! (Kendra)
Rhubarb at the market! (Jen)
Birds singing and the farmer’s market! (Samuel)
Garden starts! (Katie)

What would you add to the list? Would you add it with an exclamation point, too?? Add your thoughts in the comments.

However you mark the beginning of spring, here’s to feeling hopeful and embracing the brighter days ahead.

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Lee Ann
Lee Ann moved to Portland in 2008 following an eight-year stint in Paris, France, where her first son was born. Though she thought nowhere could compete with the City of Lights, the City of Roses immediately stole her heart. As a great place to raise kids, she loves getting out and exploring the city and region with her husband and four young children. While in France, Lee Ann earned a B.A. in Journalism and a Master's in Linguistics at the American University of Paris and L'Universite de Paris - La Sorbonne, respectively, before returning stateside to become a Speech-Language Pathologist through the Portland State University graduate program. Throughout her studies, she kept one foot in the digital world, writing content for publications and creating websites for clients. After many years as a medical Speech Pathologist, she left to the field to continue freelance writing, become the owner of Portland Mom Collective (!), and eventually to open Make + Take Studio, a community crafting space in North Portland. As a small business owner and mother, she strives to get some occasional "me" time in, which she likes to spend geocaching, jogging, sewing, and staring at the wall with no small humans talking to her. Get in touch by sending a note to leeann {at} portlandmomcollective {dot} com, or follow her on Instagram.

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