Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
Opening day is my day.
In Chicago outdoors, opening day is April 1 when smelt netting begins on the lakefront.
That's the door that officially shuts on winter and opens on spring.
Not as much for me as for others.
This morning I tried to put my finger on what is my spring door.
It matters to me.
Winter is hard on me. Though, as I've gotten older, I've learned to be smarter about surviving the dark months with my sanity intact.
I try to be moderate about caffeine and alcohol, make sure to get enough sleep and force myself to continue exercise, even in the heart of winter weather.
A couple years ago, at a friend's insistence, I even started using one of those lamps to fight off SAD.
So when the signs of spring start piling up, I feel an actual lifting of the weight of winter.
I come alive.
This morning while rambling through the late frost with Storm, I sorted through what is my official signal of the spring start.
There's the opening of boat fishing at Powerton on Feb. 15, but I don't do that every year and it is down by Pekin.
About the same time, pitchers and catchers report. That's important to me.
Somewhere from mid-February to mid-March, I plant a couple rows of sugar peas and spinach in memory of Grandma Bowman.
There's the opening of fishing at Braidwood on March 1. But there are years when that is as brutal as the depths of January.
Around March 15, there's the opener of fishing LaSalle Lake.
There's the smelt opener and the return of fishing at Heidecke Lake on April 1.
Then, a few days later, it is true beginning of spring with Opening Day for baseball.
It was a long winter. I survived again, 52 straight now.
They're talking maybe 80 on Thursday.
Shirtless on April 1 sounds good to me.
But seriously, in my head the spring door is probably the LaSalle opener, especially since I joined the group sleeping in line the night before. In my soul, the spring door is probably the planting of the two symbolic rows in the garden.
The usual Canada goose pair started nesting on the island of the town pond last Tuesday.
The signs pile up.