Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wandering thoughts on Spring

Anyone who’s known me for more than a year probably also knows that Spring is my favorite season. I start a countdown shortly after New Year’s Day every year just to mark the arrival of Spring.

Spring starts tonight at 8:07 PM. Hooray!

Right now, I have daffodils and hyacinths poking their shoots above ground (and we’re still cold and snowy here in Michigan) But they don’t mind cold weather so I don’t fear for their safety.

But thinking about Spring...our theme for this week...makes me wonder how the seasons play out in our fictional worlds. Most of the books I’ve read, the season chosen for the story tends to be a fairly non-descript ‘summer’. It certainly makes it easier for us writers and our characters (don’t have to worry about heavy outdoorsy gear or inclement weather) but I do remember one book by Kathleen Nance, Jigsaw, which was set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the dead of winter. Icy cold, blinding sun on crystalline snow...it evoked quite a picture. But I digress (as I’m so often wont to do).

Spring is usually the time of rebirth or new growth. It’s a gentle season with plants easing out of a cold winter’s sleep. With animals giving birth to their offspring so they might mature during the richer, more abundant summer months and thus have a greater chance of survival.

At least, that’s what we think about spring here on Earth with our more evenly spaced seasonal cycles.

Suppose though the planet’s axial tilt (that’s the thing that actually causes our seasons) came faster for whatever reason. How would that affect the cycles? How might it affect Spring?

I’m wondering this because we recently had a day that was bright and sunny. It went from the mid-30’s early that morning to the low 70’s by afternoon. Then a different weather pattern moved in. Rapidly. We had sudden heavy rain. The temperature dropped and continued dropping. By the next morning, we had a couple inches of snow. (Who says you can’t have three seasons in one day? LOL)

On a planet with a rapid axial tilt, the seasonal change could occur just as rapidly. I can imagine, just like a desert after a rainfall, a sudden burst of growth, of a vast green carpet arising before one’s wondering eyes. I can see alien life forms feasting greedily on this new growth or perhaps savagely feasting on unwary grazers. Plants would develop defensive mechanisms to increase their chances of re-seeding (biological imperatives exist in all species, true?). Survival of the fittest would reign supreme and the only law would be eat or be eaten.

Spring on such a planet might not be something to look forward to as I do to spring on our planet. In fact, I doubt very much that I’d want to visit that planet...and that gives me ideas for a story :D

Spring. The season of rebirth and growth...and the season of new ideas.

By the way, I’ll be guest blogging on the Witchy Chicks Blog tomorrow (the first full day of Spring). I’ll be discussing how I write cross-genre paranormal. Please stop by and, if you care to, ask a few questions.


Skylar Masey said...

The weather/season/climate in Jigsaw was one of my favorite aspects (besides Fran). Not only did it teach me a lot about the area, but it was also a truly fabulous example of using setting as an integral character, not just to set the ominous mood.

Ditto on most books being set in spring/summer. I can only recall a couple books that switched this up. Mostly the Harlequin Presents I used to read way back when about getting stuck in a cabin during a snowstorm. Hmm...I wonder where my desire to cuddle up with a hot cup of cocoa and a book, dolled up in a sweater and jeans on a snowy day came from?

Lynda K. Scott said...

Oh Fran was terrific, wasn't she? :D

Though I don't live in the U.P., I've been there (thankfully NOT in winter!) and Nance's description of the setting was spot on. You can't ask for better than that :D