Spring has sprung in the Western Cape after a very cold and wet winter. We are so glad that our dams are full and that our Fynbos is thriving on the mountains. We are ecstatic that our rivers and wetlands are alive and that we have enough water for summer, our dry fire season. Long live Spring!
Spring has sprung, the grass is ris,
I wonder where the boidies is
The boid is on the wing,
But that’s absoid
From what I hoid
The wing is on the boid!
What does Spring mean for Planet Earth?
And what does it mean for YOU? Earth kids simply love Spring.
Amber acknowledges that “Spring is the season of new beginnings. Flowers blossom and plants start to grow. The day gets longer and the nights get shorter. As the rivers start to flow again.”
Yes, the rivers start to flow again in most parts of the world. In the Western Cape however, we have a very dry summer in which we worry about fire season and our rivers then dry up. We have to watch the dam levels and ensure that we do not waste water.
“I think the Spring season is important because it is when the seasons change to the summer and its usually when the animals start breeding again,” smiles Kaely.
“It is also when different crops are planted for the summer season that is coming up.” Yes, seeds are planted and farmers are excited that new crops are going to boost their incomes.
We all agree that Spring is the beautiful and vibrant season that comes between winter and summer, lasting from September to December in South Africa (and from March to June in the Northern Hemisphere). Spring heralds warmer weather, new leaves and shoots, new flowers and the reproduction of all new animal life as we know it. Many human babies are both conceived and born in Spring!
“In Spring the bee’s are pollinating and the spring flowers are blooming,” giggles Sophia with glee.
“It is also very sunny and the sun is very important for the human body.” Sophia is right! The sun plays a huge role in our health and gives us plenty of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is best known for its vital role in bone health.
Without this “sunshine vitamin,” the body can’t absorb the calcium it ingests, so it steals calcium from bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Vitamin D also helps maintain normal blood levels of phosphorus, another bone-building mineral… Under the right circumstances, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need. Unfortunately, the “right circumstances” are elusive: the season, the time of day, where you live, cloud cover, and even pollution affect the amount of UVB that reaches your skin.
Leeya is ebullient about Spring. “I think Spring is important for nature because the bees and the butterflies get nectar. The buds on trees blossom and then the fruit comes! I love spring for its warmth – but sometimes rain!”
New Life, Fresh Starts
What most people call spring all relates to how the planets are lying and how the earth itself is tilting! So Spring is a time between the shortest day and the longest day of the year, winter and summer. We talk about the angle of Earth’s tilt toward the sun, the equinoxes and solstices.
Equinoxes are special days during the year when day and night are almost equal. There are two equinoxes, one in the spring and one in autumn.
In the Southern Hemisphere, astronomical spring runs from September 21 to December 21, thought the dates may shift slightly from year to year. In the hemisphere that is tilted closer to the sun, temperatures become warmer. The ground warms and allows plants to push their way through. There is more rain in some countries and new seeds start to root and grow as the days get longer.
Animals that spent the winter in hibernation come out of their dens, while those that traveled to warmer regions return. Many animals have babies or lay eggs in the spring. Winter coats are shed and some animals may change colour to blend in with their new surroundings.
Cape Town Spring
Springtime in Cape Town means stunning flowering Fynbos plants, bringing the mountains to life with colour. The rain eases off and the wind starts to blow again. Some of the best days do still happen in spring: windless, cloudless, and mild.
Temperatures: 17°C – 29°C (63°F – 84°F)
Rainfall: 5 – 8 days per month
Hours of daylight: 12 – 13
What to pack for a Cape Town Spring:
- Layers – clothes good for sudden changes in temperatures – the southeaster can really blow!
- Sunblock and beach wear
- A warm jacket for the occasional chilly/rainy day/windy
- Swimming costumes, beach towels and walking shoes.
Many cultures celebrate the return of spring, the blossoming of nature or the rise of the vernal equinox.
In Japan, the annual blossoming of cherry trees has become a significant national event. Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is a time for festivals and gatherings at parks and shrines. Cherry blossoms, or sakura, symbolize the transience of life, which is a major theme in Buddhism.
People of the Jewish faith celebrate Passover, which commemorates when the Jewish people were freed from slavery to Egypt, according to history.
Spring in many countries with a strong Christian tradition is marked by Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his triumph over physical death.
Mayday celebrations are common around Europe. The Maypole dance is a popular folk festival, particularly in parts of Germany and the United Kingdom. The May Pole is a symbol for spiritual trees, the axis of the earth, new life and growth.
A Spring Poem for Kids
told the grasses,
And the grasses
told the trees.
told the bushes,
And the bushes
told the bees.
told the robin,
And the robin
sang out clear:
Spring is here! (Author Unknown)