With the change of season, MSNBC asked readers to send in their thoughts on what signifies to them that spring has arrived. (We are no longer taking submissions for this topic. Thank you for the many responses).
A loud announcement of spring
My first hint of spring this year was the muted sound of a jackhammer, or at least that's what I thought it was at first. I was laying in bed late of a Saturday morning enjoying the smell lilac wafting through my bedroom window. Ahhh ... the smells of spring. I realized I was hearing a muted rat-a-tat-tat-tat, and thought the neighbor was tearing up his driveway with a jackhammer. I got out of bed and walked toward the kitchen, and realized the sound was getting louder. I walked around the house trying to find the source of the noise. It seemed loudest next to my fireplace. I walked outside to see what could be causing the noise, and found a woodpecker sitting atop the wind guard on my chimney. After a little research, I found this is a fairly common spring time phenomenon. Woodpeckers looking for a mate will find the loudest surface they can find to announce their presence. So far, he's still looking ... at sunrise every morning! I hope he finds a mate soon.
--Kate Scott, Milwaukie, Ore.
Smells and scratching
When the lilac bushes bloom - an explosion of purple and a sweet scent in the air. Now THAT's the smell of spring. And here in Wisconsin, when we start dreading the return of the mosquitoes, then it must be spring!
--Rachel, Portage, Wis.
The songs of spring
Having over 100 robins all trying to take a bath in my bird bath at the same time for three days in a row. I love spring.
--Laura Egeland, Missoula, Mont.
In Southwest Florida, spring does not quite correspond to the spring equinox date in March. Instead, spring here springs just around Easter every year. I know it's spring because the snowbirds have gone back to their northern states -- back to their families, their friends, their communities, their first or third homes. In Southwest Florida, that means the "locals" get their roads back. Fewer people means fewer cars and less headaches getting to work or even just getting to lunch. Speaking of lunch, spring also means no more waiting for an hour to get a seat at a restaurant. Amazingly, we'll see some prices decrease and dollar-off coupons suddenly appear. I know it's spring because the temps hit 85 degrees, minor-league baseball for the Red Sox is in full swing and my lawn needs to be cut every week instead of every month as is the case during winter. These are just a few indications that spring has sprung. Live here long enough and you'll know when it's spring. You won't need no stinkin' calendar.
--Joseph Gonzales, Cape Coral, Fla.
Spring in the city
The multiplication of robin's adorning the Great Lawn of Central Park. Pre-K children straining at the bit to break free of their Moms' hands as the horizon of the neighborhood playground meets their eyes. New love giggling and then seeking the recesses of the park's confines. Unrequited love sitting in silence.
--Bruce Greenfield, New York, N.Y.