Spring is finally here! Though the temperature this morning may not feel like it, this is a long-awaited reprieve from the frigid months that preceded it (even if we did just get snow last week). For some, though, it’s a sad moment to put away their layered clothes and go back to their warm weather wardrobe. Whatever spring may bring for you personally, there’s no shortage of activities both indoors and outdoors to enjoy during the season! So, follow along with this month’s blog, as we go over some of our favorite springtime activities!
Go for a Hike!
Hang on, hang on! Put those pitchforks away! I’m not here to offer the same few lines about going for a hike that we usually do, that’s being reserved for our 12 for 12 campaign. Instead, I want to talk about some of the specific things to be on the lookout for during this season! The first thing you’ll notice if you’re coming off a few months of winter hiking, is the way that color is slowly seeping back into the dense trees along your favorite trails. It’s already starting in a few different trees, but the next few weeks especially will be filling the tops of those trails back up with a dense brush. Because of that, you may actually find your hikes to be a bit cooler than they were in the winter, since you’ll be in the shade, rather than in direct exposure to the sunlight.
Something else to be on the lookout for this season are, unfortunately, ticks. Spring is the season when the previously dormant ticks will begin breeding, and increasing in population again, making it more important than ever to make sure you’re prepared. We’ve got plenty of information right here on the LIPBS website on how to protect yourself, but we’ll summarize here: Cover up as much as you’re comfortable with, check yourself in the mirror when you’re done, and be careful, but not paranoid!
Write Some Haiku
For those not familiar with it, Haiku is a style of Japanese poetry that emphasizes structure, and seasonal elements. The falling leaves of autumn, the snowfall of winter, spring showers, or the sweltering heat of summer all apply, as well as anything else that’s only prominent in a single season. This particular style makes it perfect for an indoor appreciation of spring, for those of us not too keen on taking a hike. As it stands though, the seasonal elements of haiku tend to be overshadowed in western discussion by its particular format, that being of 575, 5 syllables, then 7, then 5 again, for a total of 3 lines. The difficulty with this is, of course, that English and indeed any Latin language lack the syllable structure that allowed for this style to emerge in Japan. In Japanese you would count both letters in the word “is” as a syllable, but no such thing is done in English. This can make it especially hard to put together an “authentic” haiku if you don’t have a firm grasp on what constitutes a syllable in the English language. That said, you shouldn’t let something like this stop you from enjoying this seasonal style of poem. It certainly won’t get you any kind words on a haiku forum, but if you want an easier format to follow, try basing 575 on groups of 3 letters and smaller words instead.
So this line
Followed by this one
Makes a haiku
It’s not technically a haiku, but letting technicalities stop you from expressing some appreciation for the season is more of a disservice to the poem than messing with the syllables a bit.
Our whole blog last month was all about gardening, so I won’t be going into it here, but if you’ve never tried gardening before, the best time to start is always whenever you’re reading this! At almost every time of the year there’s a plant that’d be perfect to start seeding or growing, and that comes down to consulting your area’s growing guide. Even if you don’t want to dive in headfirst, consider buying a potted plant at your local hardware store, and see how long it takes for it to outgrow the pot it came in! You might be surprised just how well you do on your first try!
Take up Cycling!
As it gets warmer out and the days become clearer, it’ll be easier and easier to cycle around your neighborhood, either for leisure or transport! Long Island overall isn’t exactly the best area for long distance roadside cycling, but more and more towns and villages are introducing bike lanes along the sides of the road, making it safer than ever to replace some of your drives with rides!
If you don’t already have a bicycle, you can find relatively simple ones at lower prices in big department stores, but what you won’t want to skimp on is the helmet. If you go low on your bike price, you may find that most recommended helmets are almost the same price as your bike, but this is an important area to choose quality over price. Having a flimsy helmet won’t much if you take a nasty spill and knock your head on the road, so don’t skimp on this piece of equipment. A bike lock is the only other thing you’ll need if you plan to use your bike for transport and not just leisure. There’s a whole assortment of add-ons you can get for your bike to make it a real force to be reckoned with!
Hopefully, this spring, you’ll take some of our suggestions here, and find yourself something fun to do, be it indoors or out!
By Andrew Wong, Long Island Pine Barrens Society
Cover Photo by Sandy Richard