This week, the last week of April, is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I start counting down to it in October as the leaves fall and the world slowly turns from red and orange to brown and grey. By February, when snow covers the ground and it can be so cold it hurts to breathe I'm counting down the days.
It is week of The Greening.
Spring has already shown its sweet face, with daffodils and jonquils and hyacinths popping out of the cold and muddy earth. The temperature has moderated, chilly nights and the occasional confusingly snow shower notwithstanding, and we've all begun to shed the heavy coats and mittens for lighter jackets and rain boots.
Still, the landscape remains almost as spare and barren as the depths of winter. Brown limbs of trees and bushes remind us that winter was just yesterday and spring hasn't completely wiped the sleep from Mother Nature's eyes.
But this is the week of the greening. This is the week when the trees suddenly have a green glow about them. Hedges become a row of sweet, barely there leaves. The browns and greys of the landscape become a blur of green.
Green, glorious green.
Spring is every shade of green, with pops of yellow daffodils thrown in for good measure. It's warmer days and sunshine that lingers past dinnertime. It's bird song and baby bunnies and dandelions. It's packing away the winter woolens and wondering when exactly you packed on those extra pounds. It's the first day you open the windows and the last day you have the heat on.
There will be days of runny noses, of cars covered with pollen, of wretched forsythia. But nothing wonderful comes easily and right now, before the allergies kick in and we start cursing spring, the green seems worth any price we must pay.
Soon enough, we won't think twice about the leafed out trees that tower above us and give us shade on hot summer days. We'll complain about the heat and mosquitoes and crabgrass. The small flowers we planted in containers in May will become full and lush and their riotous colors will brighten our patios and flowerbeds.
Summer is coming. Concerts in Ravinia, baseball on weekday afternoons at Wrigley, moonlight strolls along the Riverwalk and fireworks over Navy Pier. Summer, glorious summer, when we forget the cold and wind and misery of Chicago winters and revel in blue skies and sunshine.
Look up and watch it happen. Drive down a tree lined street this week and look up at the million shades of young green against the blue spring sky. It's spectacularly beautiful.
And, finally, here.