We learned about signs of spring today, because it’s 72 degrees and the forsythia is suddenly in full bloom. We read books about spring and wrote about how spring is different than winter and went outside to touch the new buds on the trees.
“In winter,” I explained, “all the trees look like they’re dead, but really they’re just waiting quietly for springtime. They’re still very much alive, though. And now their waiting is finally done!”
One of the trees in the middle of the playground was still bare.
“What about this one? Why is it still waiting?” one small boy asked, staring straight up into it.
“It might be waiting for a few more days of warm weather,” I ventured. “Or maybe it’s sick, or it could even be dead already.”
“How can you tell if a tree is dead?” another little friend asked.
“Well, if it stops growing new leaves and branches, that probably means it’s dead. So when you see a tree that looks like this when it isn’t winter, it’s probably a dead tree.”
“But how can you tell in winter?”
“Well, in winter, the waiting trees and the dead trees look exactly the same. But when spring comes, the waiting trees grow bigger and taller and full of leaves, and the dead trees might lose some of their branches or fall down.”
“In winter they look the same? The waiting trees and the dead trees?”
“Sometimes waiting feels a little bit like dying, don’t you think?”
“Do you think this tree is dead, Miss H?”
“Oh, honey, I don’t know. We’ll check it every day for any buds this week, okay? Maybe he has to wait just a little while longer before he’s ready to grow bigger and stronger and fuller this year.”
“I think so. I’ll wait too.”
Budding trees photo by Lisa Ruokis, via flickr.