Growing up in England I remember looking out for the little signs of spring in still-wintry February and March. The first green shoots starting to come through, the first snowdrops appearing, then daffodils, crocuses, primroses, hyacinths... More images of spring flowers that I'd forgotten about creep back into my mind. I used to be able to name many of them.
I miss those spring flowers. Small spots of colour under a grey sky. A surreptitious army of resistance in the struggle against the cold hard grip of winter. The hesitant sun hardly warms at all.
In Mexico, spring asserts itself early, brashly confident of victory in a battle already won. Bougainvillea blooms in various gaudy shades of pink. Lilac-coloured blossoms cover the Jacaranda trees. A powerful sun flexes its muscles and radiates temperatures that a British summer heatwave might aspire to.
Another thing I miss at this time of year is having a garden. There's something nostalgic about the idea of a garden - I must have spent quite a lot of time as a child playing in the garden in the spring and summer months, but here, at least in cities, it's not so common to have a back garden. Most people have a paved or concrete patio for the laundry and maybe an area to put some plant pots and that's usually it in a normal-sized house. Gardening is not such a popular pastime as it is in the UK.
Now we're in the Easter holidays it seems a bit late to be talking about signs of spring. We've had some false starts to the season (a sudden cold front), but now spring is here with a vengeance! The days are hot and the sun burns.
Easter isn't celebrated in the same way. In England it seems to be mainly about chocolate. Here there is no tradition of giving chocolate eggs, or of having a special Easter meal. Not even an Easter egg hunt. So, deprived of Easter eggs, I fantasise about a Cadbury's creme egg...
Easter celebrations in Mexico are mostly of a religious nature, like the somewhat unsettling Procession of Silence (Procesión del Silencio) and lifelike reenactments of the "Pasión de Cristo". These events aren't for everyone, though, and a lot of people don't go to see them.
These things are what spring means to me, past and present.
How about you? What are your favourite things about spring? Do you have any special traditions that you associate with this time of year?
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