Six Signs of Spring: Swollen Streams

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Sitting in my office this afternoon, I’m surrounded by the sound of water. Water dripping and water flowing and water running like a huge faucet that’s been turned to full blast. Along the river this morning, a coal barge hugged the banks in the high water. Coming in along Scenic Drive , I could see the creek below, muddy and fast. The sidewalks along campus are surrounded by puddles and covered with earthworms crawling up out of the saturated ground.

Perhaps not quite as exciting as undergrads in tank tops, but in a year when everything is as it should be, spring is all about rain. Yes, there’s the sound of birds, but also the sound of water. Spring is wet.

spring puddle

A puddle on campus

Which is exactly as it should be. We are mostly water and we came from water; it only seems right that a season about re-birth should also involve some serious moisture. For farmers and gardeners like myself, a spring without plenty of rain is a bad thing–like starting the growing season with a deficit. What will the rest of the year be like when you’re starting out dry?

There is such a thing as too much rain, of course. This is especially true if you live next to a body of water likely to flood. Or if it stays too wet to ever plant anything in the ground. All things in moderation, and the right amount of spring rain gives you the satisfying feeling that everything is going according to plan.

So try to stay dry today. Or don’t. Getting wet in a winter rain makes you want to crawl under many heavy blankets and stay there until April. Getting wet in a spring rain just makes you smile.

Tomorrow, just in case you’re counting, is the third sign of spring, and will have to do with trees.


  1. I’m going for a run tonight. I love Spring rain. I do not, however love to run in Spring rain. So if it could just hold off a few more hours…

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