First off, I want to say that while I enjoy the end results of spring, as a season, it is not my favorite.
I tell people often that there was a reason I was born in August, because I enjoy warmer (OK, let’s say hot) weather. Spring is unpredictable. And unreliable. Although there are several sunny days with temperatures in the high 60s, meaning I can walk outside, there seem to be just as many days that host temperatures half that high, with all sorts of precipitation to contend with. Growing up in the Midwest, spring could bring snow, rain or anything in between. Having experienced one spring in Denver, I realize the same is true here. So, no, I don’t like spring. I don’t know what to wear—sweaters, boots and wool coats seem silly in April, but there have been many days when all three are needed.
As I live, I learn, though, and this year I will likely learn a lot. My word of the year for 2021 is “cultivate.” It’s almost comical, isn’t it? That sounds like a spring word for sure! As I began to think about the many things I could and would start cultivating this year, I contemplated patience, creativity and kindness. I’ve always been impatient, which is why I’m not particularly fond of spring. Though I like planting flowers and vegetables, it was a long time before I planted bulbs or seeds. The first bulbs I planted were gladioluses, because they have a relatively short germination time.
I was pleased to see that the spring magazine is full of stories that seem to personify “cultivation.” The story about DU alumnus David Heska Wanbli Weiden (JD ’92) describes what I view as an extremely long process to write a novel, and he hints at a character that is yet-to-be-developed. Marinating in his imagination for some years and finally released in 2020, his debut novel “Winter Counts” (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020) is critically acclaimed, being named one of the Best Books of 2020 by numerous publications. Just recently, it was nominated for the 2021 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. This award is bestowed by the Mystery Writers of America and is the highest honor that crime writers can receive. Clearly the cultivation paid off.
The description of the history of the DU community garden in “Garden Oasis” is full of the act of cultivating. Whether for medicinal purposes or research and discovery, there was quite a bit of purposeful cultivating by DU’s pharmacy students in the late 19th century. And in “Beyond City Limits” there’s a captivating story about cultivating creative and collaborative solutions to address rural Colorado’s challenges, including a lack of access to resources and social support.
One of my favorite stories is a digital exclusive about how to plant successfully in high altitudes. DU arborist Bradly Hanks shares so many tips for effectively planting annuals and perennials—with attention to color, size and hardiness—that even I, a “non-spring person” (if there is such a thing), got inspired. Whether you’re interested in filling a shady or sunny spot with annual pops of color, or you want to take the time to sequence your perennials so you can enjoy color all season long (and beyond), this story (and apparently this season) is for you!