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Thursday, April 21, 2011


A Sweet Northern Spring

Spring comes slowly here in the northland.  While one of my sisters is harvesting kumquats in early March in Los Angeles, I’m sitting in my kitchen in Minnesota contemplating the 7-foot icicle dangling from my neighbors’ roof threatening to pierce their porch.  When April brings tulips and daffodils to my other sister’s garden in Kansas City, our grass is still lichen-gray, matted from the retreating mounds of snow, holding its breath for the magic of May.

The first signs of spring are the drips, slow at first then gurgling down the downspout outside my bedroom window.  But I don’t mind the noise.  It’s a reminder that winter is dissolving all around me.  First the roofs reappear, then the grass in the very center of the yard, away from the miniature mountains of snow we shoveled off the walk and driveway.  Early spring in the north is a time of recession. 

Then the real thaw begins, and every day brings a little more color.  People appear everywhere, some dressed incongruously in shorts.  Fifty degrees never felt so good.

I’m a gardener - a northern gardener – so I take great joy in the first signs of renewed life in the garden.  I’m always hesitant to remove the mulch from my roses, afraid one last fearsome freeze is just around the corner.  But when I do, I always find new shoots of life sprouting from the protected heart of the plant.  I don’t get flowers in May, (I can’t plant bulbs due to an ongoing battle with the bunnies) but the burgeoning flush of green is enough at first.  I know the flowers won’t be far behind.

One of the lessons of living in the north is perfecting the art of delayed gratification.  Every year the frustration with winter begins to burn in February; but we learn we can make it, we will make it, and spring will be all the sweeter when it finally arrives.  Happy Spring!

My current release, Harvest of Dreams, has a gorgeous cover dripping with apple blossoms to celebrate the promise of spring.  Please stop by my website at to find out more about the heart-warming story.

Alison Henderson grew up in Kansas City on the edge of the prairie.  She went off to New York to study art history at Vassar College but never lost her admiration for the fortitude of the pioneers who settled the American West.  She began writing when her daughter entered pre-school and was quickly captivated by the creative process.

Although she has traveled the world from Japan to Tunisia, Alison has never strayed far from her Midwestern roots.  She and her husband are empty-nesters living in Minnesota, and their daughter is a graduate student in Chicago. 


Maria said...

My sister used to live in Warroad, MN so I know all about winter not re-treating until
We have an ongoing war with our bunnies and bulb flowers

Thanks for the post!


Alison H. said...

Hi Maria! It snowed again yesterday (ugh!) but I saw blooming forsythia and daffodils on the way home from work, so there's hope yet.

Rebekah E. said...

Sometimes I miss not actually havine a spring. But that tends to happen in Colorado.

Judy said...

Since I live in the deep South and always have, I know nothing of nothing of Northern winters first hand. It does look menacing at times, but it also looks so beautiful in the pictures. Glad it is almost over for you.

I love the cover of your new book. It looks so refreshing, since Spring is here or almost here everywhere.


Vonnie Davis said...

Reading your post reminded me I hadn't yet left a review for your delightful "Harvest of Dreams." I'm doing that right now. What a great story. I live in Southern Va, so we are blooming with flowers and dogwoods. Our air is sweet with fragrance right now.

Much success to you.
vonnie.davis at

chey said...

I live north of you so I understand your spring. We still have some snow and melting going on.
chey127 at hotmail dot com

Alison H. said...

Most years our springs are come and gone in a flash, too. Thanks for stopping by!

Virginia said...

The cover of your book is beautiful and I would love to read it. I am sorry to say I have not read your books before but will be looking for them in the future. Thanks for sharing.


Alison H. said...

Judy - The cover is perfect for this time of year, isnt' it? Thanks so much for visiting.

Alison H. said...

Bless you! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story.

Alison H. said...

Hang in there. Spring will come eventually - it always does!

Alison H. said...

Thank you so much. I love the cover, too.

Cheryl said...

I'm always afraid of that last minute frost too. The cover for your new book is lovely.

Wishing you the best,



Angelwolfstorm said...

I was born in the North and I miss the Spring up there. I love the cover of your book, it's beautiful! As a amateur photographer I can always appreciate the beauty of blooms.

Sarita said...

I love the cover of your book. It is so pretty, especially since there is snow falling outside my window! Ahh!

booklover0226 said...

I live in MD and sometimes we have a spring, sometimes we don't...we hop right into summer! Hey, as long as it's not cold, I'm happy.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Jean P said...

Love the cover of your book, it looks so cheerful. In our yard we have a problem with squirrels digging up the bulbs.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Alison H. said...

This winter has been such a bear, but spring (and hope) springs eternal!

Robin said...

My mother is in MT and has the same slow retreat of winter... but she too knows with patience spring will come!

Your book looks really good!

cheryl c said...

I loved it when you said,"One of the lessons of living in the north is perfecting the art of delayed gratification." It's always important to look at the bright side of things. :-)
castings at mindspring dot com

EdgesAngel23 said...

I live in Wisconsin, so I understand all about Spring never showing up when you really want it to! We had snow and freezing rain a couple of days ago, it just NOW melted but its still almost too cold to go outside! I hope it warms up by the weekend because alot of the local businesses have their Easter Egg hunts this weekend and I would be very sad if a bunch of little kids got disappointed because they couldn't go outside because of the cold!
Ashley A

Terra Pennington said...

Hey Alison,

Love the cover on your book "Harvest Dreams" sure does make me think of spring. I bet the flowers are beauitful on the prairie right now. Off to check out your web site right now.


Carol Burge said...

I love reading historical westerns and pioneer stories. Anything in the American 1800's. My favorites!

Love the cover of Harvest of Dreams. Just beautiful! And very Springy (is that a word?) :)


Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

I'm in MN too and man, this spring has been sl-o-o-ow to start. And here it is, a few days away from May, and i watched it snow, again, yesterday