Phenology: It is 5 o’clock and Spring is on the Way!

We all know the saying, “it’s five o’clock somewhere” which usually refers to having an adult beverage well before the time it might be socially acceptable to do so.

But, today, I exclaimed, “It’s five o’clock and still light out!” We are freed from the dark clutches of winter’s gloom.”  Not exactly poetic but true! Ever so slowly over the last week or so, I have noticed it staying lighter later in the afternoon. Why am I so excited?

There are many reasons. One is that it means Spring is on its way. Phenological signs, such as the day becoming longer, will more commonly arrive ushering a new season. Warmer temperatures, flower bulbs springing forth from an unusually heavy blanket of white, trees laden with tightly closed buds, and the return of birds to our home habitats will occur on cue, as they have for eons.  All of these are signs of spring.

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                  Early Spring Magnolia in a Wisconsin School Garden.                © Carol  Labuzzetta, 2018

As a teacher who uses our natural world to inspire students, invoking their observation  and subsequent curiosity of these natural events is key to my work. Too often in today’s world, we are either rushing from place to place, from school to home to practice, to another practice, and to bed, only to get up and repeat this craziness again, and again.

Slowing down and literally smelling the roses, or noticing the hyacinths, earthworms, sprouting milkweed, and irises allows us to recharge our minds and bodies in a healthful way.  Students need time away from their phones, their iPads, their computers, and their television sets. The addiction to technology is real.  Finding ways to intercept the addiction is an essential piece of growing, not only flowers, but also contributing members of society.  Members who will stop, look, and listen to the real world around them.

Fortunately, I know some young people who are doing this. I am even more fortunate to know that perhaps I have had a hand in their development as environmentally literate citizens.  The world is theirs to inherit, knowing what is going on with Mother Earth is key to the realization of that inheritance. So, I urge you, as our days lengthen take your child, grandchild, cousin, neighbor, friend, or student out for a walk. Take the time to notice things.  It can be earlier or later than five o’clock! After all, it is five o’clock somewhere!

This piece is part of Slice of Life: Tuesday, hosted by TwoWritingTeachers.org. Their blog is gratefully acknowledged for providing a supportive writing community in which all types of reflective writing can be shared and appreciated by a wide audience.

If you are interested in using phenological signs with your students, check out the Journey North website for fun projects and citizen science activities involving the change of seasons and the power of observations.  I have reported observations to their site since 2006.

2 Thoughts

  1. We have become excited about the same signs of Spring recently, and with the time change coming this weekend (more light later) we are almost giddy. What a nice job you have dome conveying the importance of this real (vs. digital) world. And I learned a new word – phenology!

    Liked by 1 person

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