Anticipation builds for long-awaited arrival of spring

Anticipation is more than just waiting for the ketchup to plop out of the bottle and cover your burger. Anticipation comes in many forms – some good, some bad – but every form contains some element of surprise, eagerness and mystery. Anticipation is often found dogging our footsteps as we await a long overdue event so near, yet so far from our grasp. Such is the case of the anticipated arrival of springtime.

March is the month of anticipatory anguish for most of us. We look forward eagerly for sure signs of user-friendly changes in this portion of our world. No up and down daily cycles of warm and cold but positive change worthy of hanging our woolen caps on. If you look closely the signs are there, in the lengthening of daylight hours, temperatures inching upward from the freezing point and the rushing melt run off on streams and small rivers. The temp teasers are scattered here and there all week long and us old timers know ol’ Mom Nature has at least one last sucker punch saved up for that moment when you really start to lower your guard in anticipation of warmth.

Anticipation can be found in the cork-handled grip of a fine fishing rod, the length of the stick all quivering as it settles into your hand with expectations of the better days to come. The spooling of new line, the sorting of tackle laid aside all too long and the sense of excitement that comes along when you think of the angling pleasures hopefully waiting in the months ahead. Flies tied at random or patterns picked out from memory all hold the same sense of promise for the days ahead. The standards all earnest anglers must have available at hand when they pursue whatever has become their passion chase.

This special pre-spring time was that time each year when my brother and I would whittle wooden lures with our pocket knives in hopeful anticipation of the upcoming season opener. The slightest hint of future success contained in every shaving of wood that fell at our feet. A set of treble hooks, a seriously applied coating of Testor’s enamel and a screw eye to serve as the terminal point for attaching line, and voila! Surely this creation would induce a frenzy amongst the water denizens waiting eagerly for the first offerings of a new season and ready for their part in the piscatorial stalk the two of us enjoyed so well.

Spring is a defining moment and the time of the year more than any other that relates to the inner sense of absolute anticipation in most of us living here in New England. We yearn for the first flowers to pop their bright buds through the hard earth, our eyes watch for the return of the birds of summer as we set about leaning, raking and removing the detritus of another winters’ residue from beneath our feet.

Soon walks beneath a spring sun in shirtsleeves are back and the winter jackets and clunky boots are stowed away for another six months. Spring is the season of renewal and re-birth, for the positive the positive affirmation of optimism, hope and enthusiasm in our lives. Spring gives us energy to face another day, another month, another year as we move into the days of longer duration, milder moments and pleasant times buried all too often beneath a layer of crusty white snow. Soon spring peepers will awaken and sing their song of a new generation for our evenings listening pleasure, birds will busily flit about making nests for the next generation and the trees we take for granted most of the time will burst with the refreshing, colorful growth of a new season.

Stripers will return to the mouth of the rivers merging with the sea, bluefish will blitz havoc among the baitfish and largemouth bass will awaken from their winter stupor and lie in ambush beneath the Lily Pads. The real time for angling pleasure lies just ahead, a few short weeks away and it cannot come too soon for this angler. Join with me in eager anticipation and feel the new season as it comes back to life.

Gordon Lewis can be reached at