Before I lived in Sweden, spring was a time of year that I looked forward to and enjoyed. End of story.
Now that I’ve lived in Sweden, I have a completely different relationship with spring. Spring is renewal! Spring is rebirth! Spring is a season in which winter clothing is joyfully and deliberately shed, one layer at a time! Spring is something to be savored and rejoiced in.
In that vein, I first learned about “vårtecken,” or “signs of spring,” about this time last year, when I was coming out of my first Dreadful Swedish Winter. I was instantly enchanted by the concept.
Vårtecken lead to “vårkänslor,” or the feelings of happiness brought about by the coming of spring, and therefore I am all totally obsessed with finding and cataloging different signs of spring in order to reassure myself that yes, winter is really and truly giving way to spring!
Normally, people understand the word “vårtecken” as including a variety of spring flowers, different birds returning from their winter residences on the Mediterranean (jealous), and an obsessive interest in the weather/hours of sunlight.
One thing I just learned from the Sustainability blog here at Sweden.se is that you can actually become an official, registered observer of spring (that’s “Phenology Observer,” to you) and report your findings back to the Swedish Meteorological Institute, which is totally awesome. If I knew anything about nature, which (sadly) I don’t, I would be so there.
Leaving tradition behind, however…
I’m going to go ahead and take a quantum leap in the common understanding of vårtecken and say that there are way more signs of spring than just those found in nature. In celebrity gossip terminology (a field of knowledge in which I have a deep and abiding interest), sprouting crocuses and budding wildflowers would be the “A-list” signs of spring. Everyone recognizes them
and can name their last five romantic partners gets excited about them.
But what about the B-Listers? They’re
people signs of spring, too! You know, the rash of bedazzled twigs and seasonal soft drinks and (ahem) important birthdays!
Since I am well and truly obsessed with spring (thanks a lot, Swedification), I just had to make a list, and here it is, the “B-List Signs of Spring.”