This week, one of the foxes asked, “What is your favorite sign of spring?”
I enjoy all the usual signs – warmer weather, green grass (we enjoy it while we can, because a lot of it turns brown by the end of the summer), flowers blooming, and wearing a lighter wardrobe. I enjoy having clear roads to drive on. Since I’m still working on a school schedule, I look forward to spring break, which is next week. But as a senior citizen who interacts with other seniors in several different groups, I’ve found one other significant event that signals spring here in Michigan:
The return of the Snowbirds.
For those of you living in warmer climates, a snowbird is someone who goes south in the winter to avoid the nasty weather we have here. Some go for a few weeks at a time, while others have second homes they live in for up to five months each year. Many of these are mobile homes, although several of my friends drive popup campers or motor homes. Still others have children who have moved south to find better jobs, so they’re able to stay with family. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to pack up and go away for a few months. For several years, my parents traveled to their time share condo Kissemmee, Florida at the end of January and would stay on until March, visiting several of their friends. After my dad passed, mom didn’t go anywhere for several years until my brother in North Carolina convinced her to fly down to visit him for a month. He lives near the ocean in Wilmington, NC, and she seemed to enjoy it.
I always thought I’d be a snowbird by now, but times have changed. My husband doesn’t like to travel, so I keep busy with various writers associations, performance groups, sewing circles, and of course, teaching. Other family commitments also keep me here. But every fall, the numbers in my organizations, especially the sewing groups, starts to dwindle. People leave for warmer places, and we trudge on without them. And we grumble when they post pictures of themselves in t-shirts and shorts, having to wear hats to shield against the sun.
Eventually, the snow melts away, and people start to return. The number of my high school friends meeting for brunch rises. The tables at the church quilting group are filled. The community band gets a bigger, more resonant sound. By the middle of April or beginning of May, everyone is back. And life gets back to normal, whatever that is.