Welcome as the Flowers in May

Saturday, May 02, 2015

One of my great-grandfather’s favorite sayings was, “You’re as welcome as the flowers in May.”After another long winter, I've never appreciated this sentiment more. If you live in Chicago, the season of spring, or rather the end of winter, is one of the most hopeful times of the year. And since my goal for this blog is to be positive and optimistic, I thought a post on spring was fitting.

On that first warm day of spring, after months spent huddled in parkas, bravely struggling against the fierce arctic winds off of Lake Michigan and tromping through the gray slush that passes for snow, your spirits can’t help but be lifted. It is nature’s version of a hot cup of coffee after a long sleepless night with a screaming baby.

In the eventual burst of leaves and bloom of flowers, nature makes an apology no one can refuse. People begin pouring out onto the streets and into the parks. You see neighbors again who as it turns out didn’t move away, they just stayed huddled inside to escape the 20-inch snowstorm for the past four months. Restaurants expand out onto the sidewalks, flip-flops become acceptable footwear again and Miko’s ice opens for business.

It is a time of new hope and excited anticipation. A time that we appreciate all the more because of the harsh winter we endured. Spring is my favorite season of the year for this exact reason. It reminds me that even though there are seasons of darkness in life, there are also seasons of light. And maybe we appreciate the warmth even more for having survived another long winter. No one is promised an easy life. And if hardships can't be avoided, then we pray for the strength to make it through the difficult times. Spring is a reminder that we all have this strength in us.

Spring is the light at the end of the tunnel, or a very long winter, and I think it should be celebrated. While we don't dance around a maypole anymore, here are a few of my favorite ways to welcome the arrival of spring in Chicago:
  • Explore one of Chicago's many phenomenal parks 
  • Check out the new Maggie Daley Park 
  • Miko’s Italian Ice - It’s not spring in our home until we’ve had our first Italian ice. Coconut is my favorite! 
  • Walk/run/bike along the Lakefront Trail - divvy bikes are an easy way to get around!
  • Say hello to the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo - which is free! They also have story time for kids on Wednesday and Friday mornings.
  • The Morton Arboretum - they have a tree house!
  • Spring is really in bloom at Chicago Botanic Gardens
  • Catch a Cubs or White Sox game
  • Berry Picking - spring also means the beginning of berry season! Stop by a local farm to pick up some fresh strawberries! You can try here, here and here.  
  • Do Division Street Fest from May 29th - 31st. In addition to great art, music and food, they have a great family fun fest too!
I hope you can soak up this wonderful spring weekend (and fingers crossed, the many more to come!) and savor the sun on your face and the sound of laughter echoing across a playground. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “the earth laughs in flowers”...I hope you join in!

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