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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Opinion: Spring is the fairest season

See ya later, winter!
Image by Noah Liebl
Despite its imperfections, spring offers much-needed relief as temperatures rise and days become longer.

Daffodils are blooming and the temperatures are teasing warmer days to come. In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, spring has sprung.

After an unusually mild winter, the transition to spring may feel less jarring than most years, yet the moment when bare trees erupt in shades of green never fails to shock me. 

Having spent two years at the University of Minnesota, I’ve noticed people in Minneapolis love to complain about the weather. Since spring is full of fluctuating temperatures and unwieldy rainstorms, the disdain is no surprise. April and May are also peak allergy season, which is discouraging for stuffy-nose sufferers after months of staying inside to avoid the cold.

Katie Papador, a third-year student at the University, hates spring. 

“It’s really cold, and you’re kind of going back and forth from jackets and short sleeves, and everyone gets sick because you’re not wearing a coat,” Papador said.

When I tell people spring is my favorite time of year, I’m often met with passionate disagreement. But despite all the tribulations the season provides, it offers a heavy dose of delight after months of frigid and cloudy days.

While Papador staunchly opposed my love for the season, she admitted the transition out of winter can be refreshing towards the end of the semester.

“It’s kind of nice after literally pouring my entire heart and soul into all of my work to go outside and be like, ‘Oh, it’s 60 degrees,’ and then rip off my three-day-old sweatpants and reveal my hairy legs for the world to see,” Papador said. “It’s like I give my whole body a breather.”

Kelsey Griffin, the gallery programs coordinator for the Bell Museum, offered a different perspective. As a bird enthusiast, she enjoys watching robins and red-winged blackbirds return to the Twin Cities as temperatures rise. She said spring is her favorite season.

“It’s such a long winter, and once you get through all of that you start to get these day-by-day and week-by-week nuances to the season as everything transitions over to summer in really nice, timekeeping detail,” Griffin said. “That’s really helpful for us, especially after coming out of winter.”

While Griffin loves watching birds return, I often study the trees as they come out of dormancy. From the dangling flowers of cottonwoods to the copious rose-hued blooms of crabapples, the vernal season offers woody plants at their most extravagant. Although often small in size, flowers bloom on nearly every campus tree during spring, providing a plethora of opportunities to watch buds burst into beautifully intricate shapes and colors.

“There’s so many openings for noticing,” Griffin said. 

Griffin said broadening our understanding of the natural world can foster a deeper sense of connection to our surroundings, which is especially important for people living in urban areas.

It can be hard this time of year to notice anything other than the unpredictable weather. I went for a bike ride in a T-shirt and shorts the other day, basking in the afternoon sun, but once I was six miles from campus rain clouds rolled in and soaked me from head to toe. My hands were so numb I could barely lock up my bike when I reached my apartment. What began as an afternoon pleasure cruise turned into a soaking-wet nightmare.

When the weather turns sour for yet another weekend, I try to focus on how amazing life will feel when the sun comes out again. 

“We get that spring feeling like seven times,” Griffin said. 

Jean Larson, the faculty lead in nature-based therapies at the Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing, said the positive feelings we experience during spring come from our inherent love of the earth — a concept called biophilia. As humans, we have an innate tendency to seek out nature as a source of refuge, beauty and spiritual connection. For me, this often manifests as a breath of fresh air along the Mississippi River.

“In springtime, all the little microbes and good bacteria awaken in the soil — you can even smell ‘spring’ when walking in a forest,” Larson said.

This smell comes from a molecule called geosmin, which gives the soil an earthy scent after a spring rainstorm. Larson referenced the idea that microorganisms found in the soil are essential to ecological as well as human health, which could explain why we find the smell of geosmin so pleasant and refreshing.

If you’re still spiteful of spring, maybe you’re the one to blame. Mother Nature has been going about her business ever since the earth started revolving around the sun — who are we to complain? 

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  • Mamacatcorn Ell
    Apr 26, 2024 at 6:03 pm

    Another great piece by the amazing Leo! I do love spring but I agree the back and forth between hot and cold gets a bit tiresome. My favorite part of spring is knowing my son is almost home from college for the summer even if only for a short while. Keep writing Huppke you’ve got mad skills.

  • Leo Huppke's #1 Fan
    Apr 25, 2024 at 12:35 pm

    Another beautiful article to bright up my day just as Spring has brightened up campus. Mr. Huppke if I ever get the pleasure of meeting you, I would love to shake your hand and thank you for your profound articles that have moved me to the very core. I wish you much luck in your future endeavors, Hasta La Vista B)

  • Easeter Out
    Apr 25, 2024 at 9:43 am

    perhaps they are to blame, huppke. after all, they create the world they’re in.