"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

A change of seasons

Photo by 路 新 on Unsplash

It's almost spring here in Australia. One of my absolute favourite times of year, second only to autumn I think. Spring gets its name, obviously, from the way new plants "spring" into life, and I love the way spring heralds warmer weather, with tinges of green appearing on the trees, early spring bulbs flowering (some even before spring officially hits), the increase in bird song, and of course all the bursting into colour that spring flowers bring.

Astronomical or meteorological?
I learned something when I was living in Paris a few years ago, that I had never realised in all my (nearly 50) years up until that time. Call me parochial, but apparently there are two different ways to define spring worldwide - astronomical spring and meteorological spring. In the astronomical calendar, spring starts and ends based on the changing position of the earth relative to the sun, and the resulting solar equinoxes (equal hours of day and night). And this is how much of the northern hemisphere determines the start date (and end date) of the seasons. The length of the astronomical seasons varies between 89 and 93 days, depending on the year.

Here in Australia we use the meteorological calendar, based on climatic conditions and the annual temperature cycle. The length of the meteorological seasons is less variable than the astronomical, and is fixed at 90 days for winter, 92 days for spring and summer, and 91 days for autumn. The extra leap year day would make summer 93 days when it comes around, but other than that slight variation it's a nice, set length, there's no doubt about the dates, and it appeals to the planned, organised person in me. In Australia, then, meteorological spring starts on the 1st of March, and in like fashion winter on the 1st of June, spring on the 1st of September and summer on the 1st of December.

No question. Every year. Predictable. Nice.

A northern spring
My time in Paris was from late February to late April, and part of my original planning was that I knew the seasons would be turned on their heads, so I would get to experience spring in Paris. I know, ever the romantic. So come the 1st of March, and being the born-and-bred Aussie girl that I am, I was expecting - not autumn - spring! And after a week of mind-and-body-numbing, freezing cold European winter I was ready for it!!

Being the 1st of March, it was now, of course, autumn in Australia, and while I knew the weather would still be warm (to hot at times) for at least another month or so (over there, where I wasn't), it was still definitely autumn. And so, an Aussie in the northern hemisphere, I expected spring. Not "spring" spring, obviously, I knew it would take a little time for the weather to start warming up, but I guess I somewhat naively expected that I would soon (like, really soon) start to see tinges of green on the trees, little buds appearing on the plants, and that there would soon (please!!) be days I wouldn't need my thermals, my "doona" coat, my knitted beanie, my warm woolly scarf, my fur-lined boots, my two pairs of gloves, and my possum fur socks.

Come on, it's spring already! Isn't it??
Expecting spring. Expecting spring. Expecting spring........
So here's what Paris looked like for me almost two weeks into "spring", on the 13th of March 2013:





I know, beautiful isn't it?? But it definitely wasn't spring!!

Waiting for spring
I kept waiting. And waiting. Alternately hopeful that my brand new hubby would get to see such a beautiful dump of snow when he arrived a few days later, but also keen for some (even slightly) warmer weather. Paris has lots of lovely parks, but everything stayed bare and wintry. I began to despair that I would ever get to see Paris in the spring.

Then on the evening of the 21st of March, at home in our lovely warm apartment, I caught a familiar word from the weather person on TV - "printemps". Spring!!! So a quick Google later, and we realised that, unbeknownst to us as we'd strolled the streets, baguettes in hand, spring had officially started THAT VERY DAY (though obviously we hadn't been able to tell from the weather...........). Woohoo (anyway)!

And so, here's how Paris looked the following day, on the 22nd of March 2013, the second official day of spring:


Yep, cold, a bit bleak and grey, and everything still bare, bare, bare........


But wait.......... A bud!! Two even!!

We had a month left. Surely now we could believe that spring would come before we had to go??

And eventually spring sprang!
Of course spring did eventually........ spring! It took a bit longer before we started to really notice the definite signs of spring in Paris - and we even had another light flurry of snow while we waited - but we did get to see spring, and it was beautiful.

A week after we noticed the buds, there was this as we walked along the Canal Saint-Martin.


And then we noticed we were having more days like this, days where we actually got to take our coats off for a bit, outside no less. The trees were still mostly bare............


.......... but the blue sky and sunshine was a wonderful reminder of more to come.


And finally, about a week before we were due to head home, spring did come to Paris. And here's the proof...........





And joy of joys, we even had a day of biking in the sunshine in the park. Beautiful!!


Spring and new life
And so to spring, or almost spring, in Australia. After lots of rain in late July and early August, everything is very green here right now. Our garden, sadly, is pretty much a sandpit thanks to our ongoing renovation, so it doesn't hold a candle to the amazing Bois de Boulogne, where we spent that beautiful sunny spring day strolling and cycling like teenagers. But my bulbs are up and ready to bloom, there are nasturtiums growing lush and wild in various unkempt garden beds, and new leaves are appearing on various shrubs that have survived the renovation-neglect of the last couple of years. And then, of course, there's the weeds..............

Yes, spring is definitely in the air.

It's clichéd, but I love the new life that spring brings. This cycle of seasons that God designed to display His glory, are also for our good, our joy and our delight. As the psalmist says "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1). It definitely thrills me and makes me thankful that He is such a creative God.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:20, NLT)

20 comments

  1. Like you I go with the calendar - even though the equinoxes do tend to signal the changes. We were in France this year for the European Spring and it was quite simply gorgeous - a spring that I'll always remember. Here in South East Queensland we don't really have spring per se. Thanks for linking up #teamlovinlife

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    1. It makes sense to me too Jo, but that could be because it's the way I was taught and I've never known any different - until I lived in France!! Then it made absolute sense not to call those snowy weeks of early March "spring"!!! Thankfully we do get a lovely spring here in Perth, and I've just picked my first freesias - such a gorgeous spring smell xx

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  2. I'm hanging out for Spring - I've managed to catch my first cold for the Winter and I'm soooo tired of the rain and cold winds (mind you they don't come close to how cold Europe can be in early Spring - we were in France a few years ago in September and the wind chill factor was beyond my coping abilities - freezing outside those bleak castles still makes me shudder at the memory!) Roll on sunshine and warm breezes is all I can say atm!

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    1. I've just recovered from my first cold too Leanne, I thought I'd managed to escape, but all it takes is one small child with a green runny nose.......... lol. I hope you feel better soon.
      Amazingly, for March & April, we didn't have freezing winds in Paris or the outlying areas, and very little rain, just some snow and really really cold temperatures.
      I'm loving the look of spring on its way here in Perth, little glimpses everywhere. I think we're in for a bit more rain this week, but hopefully not for too long xx

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  3. When I lived in Minnesota, I was aware of the mismatch between when the calendar claimed it was spring and the reality of the Canadian-style weather. Then we moved to Conrwall--the southern tip of Britain, which to us feels like the tropics. As early as January we get what we count as promises of spring--the first primroses bloom, and other wildflowers follow. The calendar doesn't catch up for months, but even after twelve years it still thrills me.

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    1. It's a beautiful time of year Ellen, that's for sure. I can't imagine, though, thinking of Cornwall as the "tropics", lol. I have to say I often feel like heading for the tropics around this time of year, the end of winter when I'm getting a bit sick of the cold and ready for some warmth. It's part of the attraction of Bali for me, but this year I'll just be patient for the warmer days to come, they won't be far away in this part of the world. Thanks for your comment xx

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  4. I love the pictures of Paris. Spring in Alaska, usually hits in April or possibly May if you count spring as when it finally warms up enough for the snow to melt. We ignore the calendar when it says spring because it really isn't.

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    1. Wow Lee, Alaska, what a beautiful part of the world. I've never visited sadly, but would love to. Perhaps not in your winter though!! I think the coldest I ever felt was winter (mid December) in New York. The wind was memorable for its capacity to take my breath away. I walked with a scarf wrapped around my face, I couldn't bear to breathe in the freezing air!! I think I'll stick to our Australian winters for the most part.
      Thanks for reading and commenting xx

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  5. Ah, springtime in Paris, definitely romantic. Spring where I live (Utah) is similar in that we are still prone to snowstorms several weeks into the season. And by then, there's nothing romantic about the snow! I do love those warmer days and the first color of the season, though. We're headed into fall now--my favorite season of all!

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    1. I love fall (or "autumn" as we call it here) too Christie, although in the west we don't tend to get the amazing colour changes that I'm used to from growing up in Tasmania. I miss that a bit.
      Our eventual experience of spring in Paris was romantic, not least because we were on our honeymoon!! I'd love to go back in late spring/early summer for a different experience again - my only two times in Paris have been winter and (not really) spring!!
      Thanks for your comment xx

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  6. It's the first day of Spring here in NZ and my magnolias are starting to bloom. I love Spring. It's such a pretty season.

    stopping via the LovinLife linkup

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    1. Ooh, magnolias are so gorgeous Suzy, but Perth is not such a great climate for them I think. I used to have one in my front garden in Hobart, and they really are such a unique flowering tree. I hope you enjoy your magnolia display, and thanks for visiting and commenting xx

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  7. Gorgeous photos Sue, a great contribution to your quoted verse. It does not feel like spring today but it will by the end of the week :)
    We will feature this post on the next Blogger's Pit Stop. Well done.
    Kathleen

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement as always Kathleen. We've gone back to cold and rainy weather in Perth this week too!!! xx

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  8. Yah spring! It's been a cold winter in Canberra and I'm ready for some warmer weather. Love the photos.

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    1. Ooh, winter in Canberra. Yes, I've been there and was super thankful for central heating!!! Hope spring comes soon to your part of the world Chris!! Thanks for your comment xx

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  9. Not so green here I'm afraid. Just dry dry grass signalling a dry dry summer. But the trees are becoming green again, so that's a bonus. #alsofromCanberra
    #teamlovinlife

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    1. I sometimes wonder about the down-side to late winter rains bringing all that lush spring growth - which can then dry off as summer approaches and leave us with a super-high fire risk. I hope the summer is not too hot and dry for you in Canberra as well as for us in Perth, Leanne! Thanks for your comment xx

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  10. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons. Summer's too hot, and winter's too cold!

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    1. Me too Jean. I don't mind a bit of freezing and a bit of stinking hot, but when it's endless days of it.......... well that's another story!! I find living in Perth that by the end of winter I'm ready for summer, and by the end of summer I'm ready for winter. I guess that makes it a nice balance??? Thanks for visiting xx

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