The smell of roasting meat drifts on the evening breeze. Birds sing as they patrol the grass, dozens of robins per yard. The faint crunch of fertilizer underfoot as I go up the sidewalk.
Yup. It’s spring.
I should qualify that the instant the air temperature gets above 45 degrees F, a few hardy souls will fire up their charcoal grills, and that smokers know no season. However, when you smell three or more houses per block with burgers or other things on charcoal, it is spring.
The robins travel in packs. The most I’ve seen at a single time was over fifty working over part of the schoolyard a few blocks from Redquarters. More often a dozen or so will wade through a lawn, picking up things, harassing the worms, and doing their best to empty the bird bath. If you want a bird bath aerated, bring in a robin or two. They turn mine into a jacuzzi or sprinkler, depending on just how enthusiastic they are feeling.
The little flags of the various lawn services sprout as if overnight, warning that someone has had their patch of turf sprayed. Other people prefer to do it themselves with rented fertilizer spreaders, leaving a fine scatter of fertilizer on the sidewalk until the wind moves it someplace else. Edgers appear from garages and sheds, and that pile of mesquite-like locust pods that was raked up in January and ignored finally disappears.
The folks with the plasti-pansies replace them about this time every year. They put them out in February, take them in in May, and stick them back out in November and remove them around Christmas. Apparently it is more economical to buy plastic flowers once a year than to replace pansies two or three times a year.
And lawn chairs appear from storage. Some people have wide enough porches to use those in the evenings, otherwise folks sit on their driveways or in the grass, enjoying the twilight. The bugs have not come out yet, it’s been damp enough these past few weeks to keep the dust at a reasonable level, and people have started walking their dogs and kids in the evenings. Might as well dust off the lawn chairs, grab a cold drink, and sit outdoors. There’s nothing on TV, anyway.