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The mysteries of another spring that's sprung to life

Think spring! Those two words resonate with connotations of contentment and cheer for the majority of us. What's not to love about the possibilities that come from turning the page of winter over to a season filled with longer days, warmer temper...

Think spring! Those two words resonate with connotations of contentment and cheer for the majority of us. What's not to love about the possibilities that come from turning the page of winter over to a season filled with longer days, warmer temperatures and new life?

I've never been one to argue with new life, unless we're talking dandelions. It won't be long before these little yellow beauties blanket my backyard like Freezie wrappers and Popsicle sticks strewn hither and yon on a hot summer day.

My kids call them "dandeflowers," because they are dandy and they are flowers. There's no arguing the logic of that logic. Dandelions may grow (unwanted) in my backyard each spring, but they find their way inside and claim a coveted place on the windowsill over the sink (in a special dandelion vase, made by little hands as a Mother's Day gift years ago).

The yellow of our dandeflowers is overshadowed only by the brown of the muck, mud and wet sand covering the driveway, garage and sidewalks. Like the little yellow flowers that are not weeds, my mud is mobile -- sticking to the bottoms of shoes, boots and the occasional cat or dog paw. The coffee-colored goo travels surreptitiously toward the backdoor, into the house and all the way across the room. When the poet, E.E. Cummings, coined the phrase, "mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful," I think he was talking about my kitchen floor.

Ah spring! The days are like onions, as my kids peel off layer after layer. They leave for school in the chill morning bundled in hat, jacket and boots and arrive home to temperatures that have risen 20 degrees wearing only a t-shirt, shorts and soggy tennis shoes. Where, how and when they acquired the shorts is a mystery to me. I shrug it off with the confidence of a mother who knows with certainty we will locate more than one spring jacket in the lost and found box on the final day of school, just like last year.

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Ah spring! Ah choo! My nose runs faster than a kid without his jacket. My eyes water like an errant garden hose aimed at an older sister. It's all in the name of allergies. The dandeflowers make me sneeze. Can someone pass the antihistamine, please?

Spring is full of new beginnings -- and endings, as all living things emerge to conclude a winter of hibernation. Daffodils, rhubarb and hostas optimistically poke their stalks upward through the dark soil. My neighbors and I reacquaint ourselves around a large puddle at the bottom of the driveway. Fruit flies hatch (from where I know not) to hover in their familiar spot near the bananas.

We awaken early to the sound of birds chirping. Their joy with springtime is not only noisy, but palpable. They are -- in a word -- twitterpated. In love, and busy building their summer homes high in the trees.

I give my boys haircuts, ridding them of their overgrown winter locks. We complete this ritual in the backyard, letting the curled tufts waft to the ground and then leave them there -- in hopes the robins and sparrows fluttering above will find them soft and worthy of nest padding.

We take out the bikes, golf clubs, baseball mitts and flip-flops. Hockey sticks sit in the corner of the garage forgotten -- for at least a week or two. I make potato salad for supper. We dust off the porch furniture and sit, taking it all in. The birds continue chirping.

Spring has arrived. Again. Like each year. It is new. And we are glad.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" Email her at pertmn@qwest.net ; or visit her website at http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com .

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