Spring has got to be the best season of the year.

I’m sure all of the allergy sufferers will probably disagree with that statement but putting aside all the stuff that’s floating around in the air out there making us sneeze and our eyes water, you just can’t beat the warmer weather, the longer stretches of daylight each day, all the crocuses and daffodils and tulips and cherry blossoms starting to make their appearance, the opening of trout season, all the hopeful expectations of the upcoming baseball season, morel mushrooms popping out of the ground like popcorn, turkeys gobbling in the woods, and so much more.

Back in January, when we were waking up to sub-zero weather during a long cold spell that seemed to last for an eternity, causing our furnaces to run nonstop, springtime seemed so far away.

Bill Oder

Those winter days can seem so long sometimes. Cabin fever is indeed a problem when even a trip to Walmart is something to get excited about.

But we made it. Now kids are counting the days when school is out. Gardening catalogs are arriving in the mail and people are planning vegetable gardens and flower beds.

How many tomato plants should we plant this year? How about we plant some grape vines this year or how about some of those gourds or pumpkins? These are some of the questions that are being discussed over coffee at this time of year.

Fishermen and fisherwomen are thinking about getting their gear cleaned up and ready to go. Trips to Cabela’s and Bass Pro are needed because we are certain we need to replace that old fishin’ pole this year for sure, and maybe there was a leak in those waders that was noticed on that last trip last year.

We’ll look at waders while we are there, too, and a new turkey call would be nice and we need to check out some new camo stuff, face paint, and all that.

This is also the time of the year that we start visiting the plant nurseries and checking out all the landscaping stuff at Home Depot and Lowe’s. There are plans rolling around in our heads for new flower beds and greener lawns.

Turkey hunters are practicing their calls. Turkey calling contests are being scheduled around town and, of course, if you’re one of those people who are into trying to outwit one of those very smart birds, your attendance and support at these events are needed.

Little league baseball teams are being formed and are practicing and fathers are looking into the future and seeing major league possibilities for their kids.

Just being outdoors without having to wear thirty pounds of extra clothing is a big plus, too.

I’m a walker in the mornings before breakfast and the cold winter temperatures have forced me to do a lot of my early morning walks indoors on the treadmill.

The treadmill is OK but even while listening to some good music, it doesn’t match up at all with walking outside in the fresh air.

Anytime the temperature is below thirty degrees, I do the treadmill. If the temperature is between thirty and forty degrees, I do walk outside but with a heavy jacket, gloves, sock cap and long pants.

It sure is nice on warm mornings to go out for a walk wearing shorts and a T-shirt and not have to worry about frostbite or slipping on ice.

My wife and I recently made a visit to the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis and though everything wasn’t in full bloom yet, we did find crocuses, daffodils and witch hazel in bloom.

Even though there was a limited amount of flowers abloom during our early season visit, the gardens are still impressive. We make it a point to visit there several times a year and it never disappoints.

Our visits there are usually on a Sunday morning after stopping at an IHOP on the way for breakfast. A visit there makes one want to go home and start working on their yards.

It is just important to just get outside and soak up some of that sunshine out there.

Whatever that thing is that you have been daydreaming about all winter — be it fishing, camping, traveling, mountain climbing, hiking, outdoor cooking, picnicking, chasing those elusive turkeys, gardening, playing baseball, tennis or whatever — just get out there and do it because we all know that time can sure fly by quickly and before you know what has happened, the warm days will be gone and those snowflakes will be flying around again, leaving us to face another long, cold winter.

Just take a look outside… spring is finally here!

(Bill Oder can be reached at oderbill@yahoo.com.)