I Hate Spring and Cardinals Are Stupid.


When I start a blog post, I usually put a “place-holder” title on it because great titles don’t just pop into my head (I still have no title for The Damn Garden Book) so I have to wait until the end of the writing to squeeze something appropriate out of my brain. But today I’m leaving my place-holder title in place. Another Winter storm is heading our way. And it’s the first day of Spring.

And cardinals really are quite stupid.

The predicted snow fall will not make life hard for small woodland creatures. However, the predicted 4 inches will make me, a lesser form of squirrely, really pouty.


These pictures are from the last blizzard of (technically) Winter, on March 4, 2015.


I did not care for that blizzard. But at least Winter has a personality — with all the depths and beauty of a fully-formed season: wordlessly wonderful snowscapes, tingly cold, demon slush, etc. Same with Summer: she keeps you enthralled, from the first firefly, to the scent of the shade of an elm tree, to the last thunderstorm. And Fall! Fall is bursting with personality! Color! Mood! Harvest!

But Spring? Spring starts as a wimpy-ass end of Winter, continues as a sloppy mud fest of thaw, drags its feet getting to warm weather, and flounces around with a few weeks of buds that die and become botanical litter. The best you can say about Spring are those days when you think it looks the most like Summer. It has no real personality of its own, it’s all for show, and it’s mucky.

Spring. The Kim Kardashian of seasons.


So on March 4, I surveyed the situation, which was not to my liking, and predicted that there was no way all that snow could melt by the first day of Spring.


This is my patio on the afternoon of March 5:


The wooden box was one of our birdseed-putting stations.

This is what my patio looked like on March 18:


Some birds dislike on-the-brick feeding.

This is what that trash can looked like on the morning of March 5:


So big deal. For the first half of the first day of Spring, our patio was snow free. By tomorrow it will be covered with 4 inches of snow.

This is our cardinal, three days ago, hopping amidst the left-over birdseed from the dearly departed snow on the patio:


He’s thinking, Didn’t there used to be food here? Where did it go??? I’m looking everywhere, and it’s gone! Where????


He never did find that tray of fresh birdseed that I had cleverly hidden from him in plain sight.


True story. I watched that cardinal search the whole patio.

This is the back fence stick pile o/a February 20:


This was it on the last Wednesday of Winter:


Yesterday I took this picture of the new hot spot on our patio:


It doesn’t look like much, for now. But wait for it:






This is one happy, Spring-flinging kitty cat.

I don’t have the heart to tell him it’s going to snow today.


24 Comments, RSS

  1. JJ

    The Kim Kardashian of seasons! Baaahaaahhaa! I love it. I feel the same about the bare, snow-less ground as your kitty. I’m actually thinking about doing the same moves. I think the backyard instead of the front to save my husband some embarrassment.

    • Vivian

      Chez Us, the backyard is my husband’s dance floor. Take one glorious Summer afternoon, add a gin and tonic, plus a few turkey burgers on the BBQ, and a radio tuned to a local college station that plays Classic Rock on Saturday night, and Top Cat starts to show off his moves. Luckily, we have a large fenced-in back yard surrounded by brambles and woods. Only the cats and the woodchucks have a view of the spectacle.

  2. JunoP

    Now that you’ve made me think about it, you’re absolutely right. Spring is a vapid season. And cardinals ARE stupid! Doesn’t that make them the Kim Kardashians of the bird world?

  3. Patricia

    Here in the Pacific Northwest we love spring! The grass stays green all winter to better show off all the spring flowers. We grow a lot of daffodils and tulips commercially so we see vast fields of color. And all the flowering trees are covered with blossoms (even though they’re just starting to leaf out). Spring is what we do well here. Now winter, that’s kind of “meh” here. No real snow (at least not this year). Just bare branches and soggy weather. Meh.

    • Vivian

      Tulips! I do have a soft spot for tulips! And you certainly have a point. Without snow Winter would have no scenery or poetry what so ever. All I ask for is one blizzard, two snow days, and an early Spring. I think such a spot on Earth exists but the locals are keeping it a secret.

  4. mary

    I know why you don’t like early Spring. You are a C O L O R PERSON. The color only happens with the beautiful birds you feed in the winter.. Everything else is grey. Cloudy. cold.
    Until the COLORS come, you get anxious.
    Then we have a setback like today, and all we can do is hate it.
    H A T E IT.
    Me, too.

    • Vivian

      Spring seems to have about 50 shades of pastel pink and you have to admit, nobody with an ounce of self esteem would ever be caught dead wearing pastel pink. Patel pink is good for icing and … actually, I can’t think of an “and”. And yes, thank DoG for cardinals and blue jays.

  5. I mildly disagree with Patricia — while it’s true we don’t really “do” winter here in the Pacific Northwest, and it is a gray soggy stretch of nothing, I find Spring here depressing. Not totally — it does indeed bring out the color, lots of blooms (in fact, I just took snaps this morning of flowering quince, native currant, vinca, spirea, and pansy violets all blooming away in my garden) — but it is a faux Spring. Every February and early March we get lovely warm sunny days and flowers and everyone rushes eagerly to the garden store…and then the first day of Spring arrives, to be followed by six weeks of rain. And GLOOM. At least for me. I hate it.

    Now, last year we lucked out and had a milder version, and global warming may be slowly altering our climate here to something milder and less sodden — we just have to wait and see. Then I might actually grow to like Spring.

    We don’t get cardinals here so I have no opinion on their brain power but boy howdy, that is one danged obvious tray’o’seed. Let’s hope he doesn’t pass those genes along!

      • Alex MacKenzie

        Yes, you’ve got to be careful when bragging about Life in Seattle — we don’t want hordes of outsiders joining us here in paradi–er–I mean, in the soggy, gray, rainy armpit of the universe!

    • Vivian

      Flowering quince! Already??? The quince tree across the street is still just a bumble of bare sticks — and it’s on the shady side of the road so it also as a nice pile of snow around it. I can’t bear to look at it.

      I hear you about gloomy. It was so cold on the Equinox that for the first time in ten years Top Cat and I did not trek through the woods to our Solstice/Equinox toasting place on the shore of the Long Island Sound. It was too bitter and gloomy and neither of us felt like tramping through snow. The next morning, Sunday morning, the first morning of Spring, Top CAt made a fire in the fireplace and we sat cozied around it. Otherwise BREAKFAST would have been too depressing.

  6. bunny

    Vivian, I know your talent is high, but your opinion of spring is just wrong. I, too, live in the northeast, and I LOVE spring. I realize that with the onslaught of yet another snowfall, this will be a passing blip on the radar screen of the spring season. I just love it when the days are longer than the nights, and the warmer days, even 45 degrees seems like a heatwave, I’ve put my winter coat away till next year. The only downfall of spring is not the occasional couple of inches of snow we rarely get, and it does dissipate quickly, its the rainy season, starting in April. But that brings buds on the trees, grass turns back to green,and flowers in the garden, and my favorite, willow, and cherry blossoms, and like they say, hope springs eternal!
    Cant wait for the new book!!! You’ll come up with a great title, I’m sure.

    • Vivian

      bunny, you are an optimist if ever there was one. I bet you have not met a Spring snow cloud that didn’t come with a silver lining. I want to live in your world.

  7. Oh, how we love our dirty roll-around-in-the-sand spots! Yes we do! We love getting dusty and dirty and oh, so happy! Snow? Let it be a figment!

    We were lucky — we returned from Massachusetts where there was still LOTS of snow to snow-gone here in Michigan. So far, so good, but you don’t know till its 90 that it’s not going to change. I remember snow on Mother’s Day. But at the moment it is sunny, blue sky, fifties and I am ever so grateful because I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever see it. So, I feel for you with the forecast. I hope they’re wrong!

    Don’t worry — you’ll go round and round the garden finding a title but I think you’ll discover a beautiful one the second you least expect! I hope so!

  8. Joan

    The Kim Kardashian of seasons???!!! OMG, that caused a big coughing fit as I choked on my drink. So perfect!

    I don’t blame you for being upset over the weather…good grief, this has been the Grandaddy of winter storm seasons. I recall such a mood as yours when I lived in MI and it rained on Easter which was in April that year. I nearly lost it! Ranted and raved around the house like a Banshee cursing the world and all who live in it. There went plans for an Easter Egg Hunt.

    Cardinals stupid? Not to me, the bird lover. These are little messengers of delight, bits of color to feast our eyes on. Maybe Mr. Cardinal was looking for bugs or sprouting seed morsels. Maybe your seed had lost its appeal after weeks of eating the same fare. But look at that beauty! In your world of mud gray, that burst of flaming red.

    If you can’t squeeze another title out of your brain matter, perhaps you should put a contest before the readers of OOOH La La, Vivian and give a Vivian original as prize to the winner???? Hint, hint. (I’ve got mine bookmarked in my brain)

    And…you didn’t mention 2nd thing that was lost that needed St. Tony’s help.

  9. Gigi

    I was traveling last week and so missed the GREAT post. But read it yesterday and SO loved seeing how you rescued the paintings. I adore the effect you created. Made me long for London!

    So now we know cardinals are both cowardly and not bright. Or, to be charitable, maybe the cardinal in your yard has cataracts…

    The happy-cat-warm-spot-break-dance is what we all want to do…when spring really, truly comes. I feel this kitty’s bliss!

    I left the Pacific Northwest after decades of suffering through endless gloom (I’m with Alex) and returned to California for a year. Patricia is right that the brilliant colors against the emerald greens are restorative, and the lack of sunshine is great for the skin! But oh, the rain, the gloom, the dank.

    Now I am enduring Texas for just O-N-E M-O-R-E Y-E-A-R. I think EVERYDAY of California. And I pray for rain. In California. So I don’t have to go back to the PNW.

    I admire your fortitude, Vivian. Were I in your place, I would have relied way too often on the champagne-o-meter. Probably open a new bottle about every other snowy day. My wish for you is a most glorious WARM brilliant summer that leans into an Indian Summer. Ah, feel the sun on your back. Come, marmalade kitty. Let us share the warm spot.

  10. Thanks, Missie – I snorted coffee out my nose at the “Kim Kardashian of seasons”! I live in the Northeast as well, and am so freakin’ sick of winter and snow and ice that spring, with all it’s broken promises and mud and wind is welcome. I think of it as a place-holder season anyway, between god-awful and the only season I really like.

    Speaking of titles (you were, not me), all of your posts show up for me with the title “auto draft” . For some reason, the title shows on my blog where I have it linked, but when I click on it I get the auto draft one. Gremlins in the inter webs, I guess.

    Glad the kitty is happy with a patch of dirt – mine is desperate!!

    • Vivian

      That is so strange about the “Auto Draft”. I too get “Auto Draft” when I do a “preview” on each post as I am writing it. I have a designer working on a whole new web site for me and I will make sure he de-bugs for that.

      Yes, exactly. Spring is a lousy hors-d’ouvre for Summer. I feel for your poor kitty. The least a cat deserves after this horrendous Winter is a bare patch of Earth (who knew kittehs soul be so easy to please?).

  11. Jen A.

    Wow, I don’t know where Bunny lives in the Northeast, but putting away the winter coat already is crazy talk! Woke to 10 F and a -8 F windchill predicted for today in Springfield, VT. Still wearing the woolies and the cat constantly on my lap.

    Pussy willows are trying to pop out, though. I brought some inside to force. The first “bouquet” of the year.

    Every March I think of Vivian’s March chapter of Wanderers, especially her description of being so sick of all the same old sweaters. Amen to that. Every year I forget that March is, in fact, worse than February.

    For me, Spring, as a season, is all about newness and baby things and sex and fertilization and rushing to get the business done…it reminds me that I’m getting older and can’t go back. Spring is for the young, and young-at-heart doesn’t cut it.

    • Vivian

      Jen A! Long time!

      I think bunny was just giving us all Northeasters a fine pep-talk. You are 100% correct — I don’t put my Winter coat away until May, because you never know. And it’s SUMMER that is all about being and feeling new, alive, sexy. SUMMER is when the possibilities seem as endless as the long bright days. SUMMER is the season that makes the heart race and the mind feel ever young and in love with the world! Check back with me after the first really hot day, and the forgiving twilight that follows, full of fireflies and ice cold drinks and fond memories. You jet can’t get enough of those kinds of hours — ask anybody who’s moved to Key West.

      The poets who made Spring the “season of renewal” such a cliche were grasping for material, and they came from places where things started blooming in Febrauary. In other words, Spring is just a P.R. gimmick. See my note to Mary: Spring colors.

  12. ann

    Loved your happy cat. Mine does that too. She greets me with her chirps at the driveway when I pull in. She arches her back and presents her belly begging for a tummy rub. That is such a a picture of bliss.

    • Vivian

      One of these days, I’ll bee able to join Taffy in a happy dance…but not on a cold pile of dirt. I’m thinking on a picnic blanket by the sea.

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