While T.S. Eliot’s assertion that “April is the cruelest month” might be true in the Chicago area, May is quite another story, the genuine advent of Midwestern spring.
April’s intermittent snowstorms and blustery weather are sandwiched between some sunny days, which gives the month its deserved reputation as a tease, a false positive, a trailer for better things to come.
May is the real deal.
Already temps are heading higher and spring flowers – hyacinths, tulips and daffodils among them – are starting to make their annual appearance, brightening our gardens and parkways. Trees are beginning to bud and leaves to unfurl. Best of all, our neighbors, housebound all winter, are venturing outside, where we can visit with them to renew the ties of communal friendship.
Of course, these things happen every year and along with other seasonal rituals such as spring cleaning and Cub rainouts are easy to take for granted.
Spring deserves our undivided attention. The mother of all seasons, harbinger of longer days and sweeter nights, it showcases the glorious rebirth of nature.
We tend to cocoon in the winter. Spring is the season to get out. Here are a few tips for soaking up spring in Evanston:
• Walk the beaches. Discounted tokens are already on sale, but the beach season in Evanston doesn’t begin until Memorial Day weekend. So head out to one of the City’s wonderful beaches, take off your shoes and slide your toes through the grainy sand and tickly surf.
• Stroll the parks. Evanston has wonderful lakefront parkland as well as walking trails at Lovelace, Twiggs, Dawes and Butler parks and elsewhere.
• Visit Northwestern. The university landfill is a favorite destination, with striking vistas of the lake and campus.
• Dine al fresco. With the advent of warm weather, restaurants roll out their sidewalk cafes. What better way to take in the glorious parade of humanity than to enjoy a coffee at the curb or a burger on the boulevard?
• Stride the perimeter. For the truly adventuresome, there’s the Perimeter Walk, hiking all four sides of the City, the 14-plus miles of the City’s borders, bounded roughly by Howard Street to the south, Sheridan Road to the east, Isabella Street to the north and Crawford and McCormick Avenues to the west.
There is another, more poignant aspect of spring. While the other seasons have their appeal – summer is serene, fall is crisp and winter has cozy fires and holiday lights – it is spring we most anticipate, the beginning of new life and better weather. And yet there aren’t that many for us to enjoy: maybe four score and 10 if we’re very lucky.
So take it in, breathe the rich air, bask in the warming temperatures, exhilarate in the beauty of leafing trees and blooming flowers and remember: spring is a rare and beloved gift that deserves our full attention and appreciation.