Signs of spring in Tucson and beyond

We may not have robins and melting snow, but Tucson has a gorgeous array of signs that tell us spring has sprung.

Lizard/Ryn Gargulinski

Lizard/Ryn Gargulinski

Spring has always been my favorite season, when a dull dead Earth comes back to life – just like my brain.

Since I am one of those lucky folks who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, spring is my own reawakening after several months of wanting to do nothing but drown myself in naps and supermarket tabloids.

My first inkling of spring is when the morning sun blinds me on the back porch. This blinding is gorgeous.

It’s also the reason I installed a massive patio blind that falls off its tracks if you pull the cords too rigorously.

Endless news releases about rattlesnakes are another spring dead give-away.

One Tucsonan, who chimed in when I asked about signs of spring on Facebook, insisted we have no spring. “I say we have four or five versions of summer and about two months of not summer.”

So true. But there is a cozy zone between wearing gloves to do outdoor morning artwork and wearing oven mitts to open our car doors. This zone is best reflected in our electricity and gas bills, as both are merrily affordable for a scant few weeks.

Spring evening/Ryn Gargulinski

Spring evening/Ryn Gargulinski

Tucsonan Andrew Ulanowski hit the nail on the head.

“I know it is spring when the license plates turn back to mainly Arizona, flocks of Winnebagos head north for the summer and the reduced number of left-turn blinkers going down the road for miles.”

Others mentioned dining al fresco, which some will do year-round in Tucson – the snowbirds often wearing shorts.

“Pollen, sneezing, watering eyes, sinus headache,” said one Tucson woman. “Need I say more?” She later added, “The flowers are nice, too.”

Longer daylight hours are another fine sign several mentioned, excited that it’s still light out at 7 p.m. We no longer have to scramble home from the dog walks by 6 p.m. to avoid the coyotes.

The Tucson list was rounded out by baby lizards and using the screen door, which is really a heavy duty steel security door with cactus, hummingbirds and other metal welded designs.

A few from the East Coast and Midwest also chimed in, duly reminding me why I moved from both regions.

“Up here in the frigid Midwest,” said one, “the first sign of spring is when the snow is all melted and I can pull out the Harley.”

Another said it’s hauling her bike up from the basement, which she will get to soon.

In Tucson we don’t have to store our bicycles in the basement for the winter. And not just because we don’t have basements. My bike sits nicely in my garage, albeit untouched and with two deflated tires, all year long.

Melted snow puddles and leaving my pea coat gaping open are two shining memories of spring in Michigan.

New York City has a massive telltale sign of the changing season. You know winter is over for sure when all the garbage and subway stairs begin to reek again.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who will never miss snow. Her column usually appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski but this week Friday is reserved for Tales from the Posse. Her art, writing and more is at and E-mail

Spring evening/Ryn Gargulinski

Spring evening/Ryn Gargulinski

logoWhat do you think?

What sings spring for you?

What’s your favorite season?

Does anyone actually like winter the best?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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19 Responses to Signs of spring in Tucson and beyond

  1. Rynski says:

    This just in – breaking news! – one more sign of spring, as per a news release from AZ Game and Fish (love the bolded quote – hahahah):

    A ton of catfish fun is coming to urban lakes
    Mr. Whiskers is a sign of spring
    PHOENIX – Tons of fun are heading to urban lakes soon – channel catfish will be stocked for the first time this season in the 20 Urban Fishing Program lakes in the Phoenix and Tucson areas on Thursday, March 25.

    From March 25 through early July, the Arizona Game and Fish Department expects to stock a total of nearly 14,000 pounds of catfish into these waters every two weeks.

    The first seasonal stocking of Mr. Whiskers into the urban lakes has almost become a harbinger of spring – the Vernal equinox is March 20, so we are pretty close once again,” said Eric Swanson, the Urban Fisheries Program manager.

    Plus, feisty bluegill are being stocked this week (March 15-20), and most of the lakes will still have trout to catch as well – rainbows were stocked throughout the winter.

    “It’s time to grab the fishing poles and get your family outdoors,” Swanson said. “Don’t forget, adults need an urban fishing license, but kids fish free.”

    Young anglers under the age of 14 do not need a fishing license. Those 14 and older must have a valid urban fishing license, which costs $18.50 for both residents and nonresidents alike.

    Channel catfish for the urban lakes are expected to average 15 to 20 inches.

    For more information on the Urban Fishing Program, visit

    • Jennatoolz says:

      Sweet!! Who’s up for a fishing trip?!

      • Rynski says:

        sawyer says “i am!” hahah – as long as he can catch them in his mouth.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        I thought catching fish with your teeth was the ONLY way to catch a fish. 😉

        Let’s go Sawyer! Sadly, Dante can’t join us as he’s still healing up and has a tummy full of staples. (Poor pup is having a rough time…)

      • Rynski says:

        awwww – poor pup. he’ll bounce back soon enough, for sure. that must have been a very tough surgery for him. when i had zola spayed (only one that didn’t come that way) she was conked for a day or two…but dante’s is going on nearly a week, no?
        send him healing love wishes from sawyer and gang.

      • azmouse says:

        Poor Dante. He’ll be his old self, but better, in no time.

  2. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Yup, been a different feel in the air lately, I’m ready for the heat…bring it on! 😉 Spring; definitely my favorite.
    Our two or so weeks of spring are really nice, wish it was more, but you have to take the good with the bad in the Old Pueblo.
    It will be nice to get some of the Winnebago’s off the wrong way lanes of I-10 and I-19. 🙂

    • Rynski says:

      hiya radmax!
      spring spring spring!
      the season does infuse me with life – ahhhhhh. i’m ready for the heat, too. i agree on the winnebago exodus – we saw a million zillion heading down the highway out near davidson canyon . we waved adios with zeal! hahahhaha.

  3. Jennatoolz says:

    Hi Ryn!! My fav season is winter! Sad to see it go so soon…I enjoy bundling up in cool leopard print scarves and cozy jackets.  Not to mention, the awesomeness of staying curled up in my warm, comfy bed!

    • Rynski says:

      yaaaay! a winter lover! winter is my all time WORST season, but i am glad to hear others enjoy it – otherwise it would seem it had no purpose – hahah.
      i will admit i do like the cozy scarves and jackets – esp. when they are in leopard print! – but i’d rather it be an OPTION to wear them, not a necessity.
      cozy beds are good, too – but i’ll still vote for cozy balmy summer evenings!

  4. tiponeill says:

    I have SAD too, which is why I can no longer live in civilization 😦
    This winter has been awful even here, and I’m so glad to see spring finally arrive – although summer has always been my favorite season – no school 🙂
    I would love to see Tucson adopt nicer spring celebrations like the Penis Festival, but it seems unlikely here in redneckville 😉

    • Rynski says:

      yes, this winter has been particularly SAD-like, for sure. at least it is easier to endure than the winters of mich, nyc and the rainy rainy pacific northwest.
      summer does rock for no school, too!
      why don’t you start such a festival here in town? we can announce it on the dating game blog! haha.

  5. azmouse says:

    I do love hearing the birds! I try to enjoy all the seasons, but the older I get, the hotter the summers seem. But, that’s why I have a pool!

    I enjoy the seventy, eighty, and even ninety degree days.

    • Rynski says:

      ahhh, yes, the birds – with their sweet chirps of life!
      70s through 90s are the finest degrees – but i also like the really really really hot melt in your flipflop days, mainly so i can tell all the folks in michigan: ‘whew, it’s 112 out there’ and then i think they think i’m really strong to survive it – hahah.

  6. Karen Nelson says:

    I voted for spring… but to be honest it does fill me with just a touch of dread that the heat is coming!!! When I had a pool, I didn’t mind the heat so much… these last few summers have been brutal… I REALLY enjoy winter here in Tucson… except for the short days. But it IS nice when we only get a couple of months of it, to wear sweaters and jackets and jeans! And be able to exercise vigorously outdoors and not have to do it at O’dark thirty in the morning or late at night!

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