It never seems to come with an understanding of why, but as the days lengthen into March, my mind always kicks in with warm season memories.
I know it is rushing the season, but I'm wintered out with short, dark days filled with rain, cold temperatures and bad tempers by cabin-mates cloistered too long not to be crabby cakes (living with a five-year-old grandson has put long unused words into my vocabulary of late).
Nobody in my home ever listens to me, so when I decided to talk old times I took my faithful one-year-old dog, Arya, out for a one-on-one day at the dog park and squeakies at Pet Smart.
Sitting next to me in the pickup, she seemed bored with the talk of my youthful exploits back in Michigan where teenage fun on the summer beach was laced with bonfires and marshmallows, cheap beer, sandy hot dogs and broken potato chips watching submarine races (one girl even looked for them!)
That having failed, I decided to pick on my 12-year-old grandson who is going on 21. We hauled to the nearest McDonald's and I began to unload on him my fun and games as a kid like him. The only trouble was, by the time I finished telling him about my youthful adventures, we both decided that I should have been arrested and probably sentenced into a jail for a long time for some of my antics.
I hope he doesn't try any of that stuff, because he'll be soooo grounded and his mother would do her evil look at me for the rest of time.
I can hear it now: "But grandpa said he did it."
Beware of sharing those stories about shooting out the lights and stealing pop bottles off the back dock of the store to turn them in for money to go to the movies.
To me, they were endearing little naughty choices, but to others they probably sound like I was a juvenile delinquent running rampant. Shades of James Dean and Blackboard Jungle.
What ever happened to that carefree, careless lad running through the meadow as winds blew in the willows? How did I get four children and 10 grandchildren and a dog that doesn't come when I call?
Life can be strange and cruel. Loved ones I've lost left holes in my soul that never filled, but joys of my family have kept me smiling and counting blessings, not bereavements.
All in all, it's been a great run and there's still miles to go before I sleep. The joy of life to me, in a word, is "love."
There's so much of it in our clan, and even in Arya's brown eyes, so who can complain that comrades in life have fallen along the way after their run was over.
I get a little soupy eyed when I look at my daughter and her two boys living with us as she searches for work. The next generations, while strange and different from mine, are parceled with warm affections for us all.
In the end, perhaps that's the real springtime of being alive.