I will not write a cheesy one-liner based on the headline. This is serious stuff.
We are coming into some of the busiest months of the year. Well, I don’t think that there are many weeks out of the regulation 52 that are not hectic in some way. It’s just that springtime makes everything burst forth in bloom all at once.
It isn’t simply all the flowers blossoming and birds nesting. There’s always something in the air that screams, “Do something, anything.”
You can see it with your children and grandchildren. The little ones are wound up from the time they get out of bed in the morning until they are wrestled, under protest, under the covers at night. The older ones dart hither and thither, studying hard for exams, playing sports, rehearsing plays and concerts, preparing for the prom or waiting impatiently for graduation.
My middle grandson is doing most of those things right now, except for play or band rehearsals. He’s a senior this year at Cambridge Springs High School and, having played nearly every sport known to Western man, the performing arts have never been high priorities. The only reason he was never on the high school curling team is because there isn’t one.
It has been giving Grandma a bit of a turn, especially the part where his mom and dad take him on weekend visits to college campuses. His parents are somewhat used to it by now, having shepherded his older brother around the state a couple years ago.
All three grandsons are what the Brits call “whackin’ big.” While they’re not brawny by any means, they are all taller than their parents and grandparents. It is very strange having a tall handsome stranger looking down at you, one whose diapers you changed, the former toddler who sat on the floor and fast-forwarded “The Wizard of Oz” through the black-and-white introduction until he got to the good parts in color.
It seems like only last month that my ex and I were sitting through parent orientation at IUP with their mother. The month before that, we were running after her once she got the hang of riding her Big Wheel. And the month before that, I was the young girl visiting college campuses.
Every campus is unique, but they all resemble one another in the springtime. Fashions have changed, hairstyles are different, but the students are all still on a mission of some kind. You can see it in the way they walk.
Their walks tend to get a little more languid as the days grow warmer and the sunlight stronger. Maybe the tulips and daffodils in the flowerbeds have something to do with it. Study groups form on grassy plots, having moved from the stuffy confines of a wintertime library.
I watch them when I happen to be on a campus for some reason. And I think about a grandfather, several aunts and uncles, a few cousins, my brother, me, my daughter and now my grandsons. The personalities are all different, but we share the experience of spring on a college campus.
I don’t know what it is that is different about spring when you’re in college. You are still studying your brains out — or should be — but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a fire. Within a month or so, there will be some type of freedom, at least for the summer.
For my eldest grandson, summer means taking a couple intersession classes, separated by National Guard camp and working at his uncle’s window-washing business. The media would have us despair for the next generation, but I look at that young man and his younger brothers and know that America is going to be okay.
Hope springs eternal, as they say. I guess this is why springtime is always a big deal to living things, from a tadpole to the giant hickory tree across the street. Once you survive winter, you get a do-over every year. When the daylight lasts a little longer every day, it’s time to get busy and get on with life.
It’s something to remember when you see kids running, yelling and being foolish. All that rising sap needs some kind of outlet.
[Susan Kerr is a semi-retired freelance writer living in her hometown of New Bethlehem. Previously, she was the managing editor of a regional-interest magazine and a business journal in State College.]