by Loreena Thiessen
During the long cold days of winter, except for people, all the earth seems to be asleep. Trees are bare of their leaves, plants have died back, animals hide in burrows or nest in the trunks of trees, and only a few birds flit about looking for food.
How do trees and plants know when it’s time to wake up for Spring? A lot of it is still a mystery, but scientists tell us there are two ways trees know when to begin to wake up. The first is that trees respond to warmer weather. The second is they react to a change in daylight—how long there is daylight.
As winter nears its end the nights are shorter and the days grow longer. As the sun’s rays are more direct, they begin to feel warmer on your face and there are more hours of daylight. Trees can sense how long there is daylight; they also know how long it has been warm. This causes buds to sprout and develop. And trees begin their new cycle of growth.
As the days get warmer animals and insects begin to stir. Bears have been asleep all winter; their bodies have slowed down. Now they awaken and come out of their dens looking for food. At first they eat berries and the new shoots of plants. As their appetites increase, they head for rivers and streams to hunt for fish.
Insects come out from their burrows and hiding holes. Plants open up and begin to flower just in time for insects to come along and pollinate them. This is to make sure that all plants continue to reproduce.
Birds have an inner clock that tells them to leave when food gets scarce and the ground freezes. They migrate to warmer places where there is more food. As the weather warms up, they sense a need to return to where they were born. Once more it’s all about food. They arrive just in time to find the right food, insects and berries. This is where they will build new nests, lay their eggs, and raise the new hatchlings.
To escape the cold some frogs burrow into the soft mud at the bottom of the pond and in the river banks. Their bodies slow down, their limbs freeze, and their hearts stop altogether. Now as the sun warms the earth they too wake up. Their limbs thaw and their hearts and lungs start working again. On land their bodies warm and they are once again fully alive.
God’s creation is all about order. The sun continues to rise and set giving us night and day. Seasons follow one after the other. Water evaporates from seas and rivers and returns to land as rain causing flowers to bloom, lawns to turn green and crops to grow. Fish swim in the sea, birds fly through the air, and your feet remain on the ground as you walk along.
God is a God of order not disorder…and of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). Read Ecclesiastes 1:4-6 and 3:1.
Activity: Look for Signs of Spring
- Need: camera, notebook pencil, pencil crayons.
- Do: Take a look through a window at what is happening around you. Is the air warmer? Can you feel the sun’s rays? Is snow melting? Are any buds visible? Are birds out? Is there open water? Do you see any birds that have returned from the south?
- Take photos or draw what you see. Share your findings with family and friends in some way.