Today marks the vernal equinox, the official beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. Ever since the winter solstice, in December, the days have been growing ever-so longer. Today the day and night will be roughly equal, and beginning tomorrow the days will begin to be lengthier than the nights. Throughout most of my life I have begrudged the coming of spring: I like cooler weather, and when spring arrives I know summer -- summer, that endless stretch of months that smothers the south with a hot, sticky-wet blanket of air until October -- will not be too far behind. This year, though, I have experienced the winter more thoroughly than ever before. After a season of walking on cold streets with bare trees for company, I take positive delight in the arrival of spring. The trees are flowering, animals are chasing one another, and the days are just right for basking in the sun.
Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing.
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!