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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

The Rites of Spring

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Although my spring rituals are not quite as notorious and exciting as the Russian Stravinski/Nijinsky ballet that set Paris on its side over a century ago, I could easily set mine to music and dance.

I love spring. For me, it is an intensely sensory time - the musky soil, the emergence of new plant life, tree buds and return of the birds' song. This year is especially nice because for the first time in decades I can fully embrace the season. Until now, many of my daylight hours were spent inside at work. I no longer need to wait and hope for good weekend weather. If it is welcoming outside, I simply fall into nature’s arms. Of course armed with my Clariten and Flonase!

On any nice day, you can probably find me engaged in one of my two favorite spring activities - walks in the woods with my husband and working on my gardens (not with my husband). However, I seem to have sparked an interest and possibly a mania for vegetable gardening in my adult children. The excitement of seeing beautiful food grow and later pick and cook with it, is incomparable to anything else we normally do. And the nuances are endless.

My family has a very active springtime message group that my son named “Here we Hoe Again”. Discussion topics range from the right manure to use, garden dimensions, the pros and cons of growing bush vs pole beans, the benefits of horizontal/vertical/raised gardening and many other practical tips that we have discovered along the way. It is full of pictures of our gardens, bugs and their harvests. We are an unofficial 4H club! Last year, we had a particularly long discussion about using hay for mulch.

The hay story is one of those no good deed goes unpunished tales where I am the villain and my kids the innocents. Last summer, I was hosting a cousins club with the grandkids at our lake home. Our activity of the day was making scare crows to take back to their respective vegetable gardens. We were using hay that I had bought at the garden center and had quite a bit left over. My son, who had inherited a large garden at his new home, took the leftover hay to use as mulch. Little did we know, it was full of grass seed and the results were nearly devastating to his garden. Instead of holding back the grass and weeds, he had inadvertently planted a new crop and it took a lot of sweat, beer and swearing to clear it out. I can only imagine the expletives used about me!

But, like most missteps, we just added it to the list of family stories to recount and rib each other with. So, as we plan out our spring plantings of lettuce and herbs, I try not to take too much notice of my allergies, the deck that needs refinishing, the bare spots in the grass and the new crop of poison ivy that all seem to fall under the category of springtime buzz kill that will eventually need to be tended to. Sigh, it’s always something...

Have a Happy Spring!

Jane Rubin is the author of the memoir, Almost a Princess, My Life as a Two-Time Cancer Survivor available in most online bookstores. The royalties are donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

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