The Coast News Group

Northbound: Springtime in North County

Is it springtime in North County yet? Hrmm. I’ll call it — it’s springtime.

You can see it everywhere. Flowers are in bloom. The days are getting longer, and the evening chill has given way to warmth.

With spring comes the promise of renewal, of eternal hope, rebirth. Perhaps as working adults, with everyday routines, we lose sight of that. As school children, it was impressed upon us — each month carried with it new classroom decorations, new topics. The change was clear.

When I attended Catholic school, we would celebrate Catholic Week and Holy Week, both of which are in the spring. I remember making paper crèche flowers, in vivid colors, using green pipe cleaners as stems. The entire school then tied their flowers to a large cross, covered in chicken wire. The resulting image was beautiful, brilliant. God is life, hope and beauty.

Faith renews our soul, and for Christians, this renewal is marked in the spring with Easter and the Resurrection. However, all of us, no matter our faiths, have an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, our spiritual being, and the world around us. Why not take spring to make that time for ourselves?

North County has all sorts of places to go for personal reflection: Our beaches, the self-meditation center in Encinitas, and of course, our places of worship.

For me, my Zen place (besides the church pews) is found in landscaping. Just spending hours planting, pruning, observing the natural order and our instinctual, defiant will to survive despite all odds. I just fertilized my roses and flowers this morning, to give them a bit more pep for the next three months.

You really don’t need much space for gardening — I’ve lived in small urban apartments with little light, and yet, found a way to create a beautiful green space. I even went so far as to plant Siberian tomatoes to get a shady patio to bloom with natural life.

I know many of you have “black thumbs,” or have had start and stops with prior gardening projects. An easy way to get a start is with a succulent garden. They’re low maintenance, hard to kill, and besides sunlight don’t need much to thrive. I’m a fan of aeoniums and agaves.

This is also a great time to start planting tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. You can’t go wrong with experimenting with heirloom tomatoes and the many different varieties out there. Tomatoes do well in containers as well as in the ground, if you have space.

Memories of my mom and I planting tomatoes when I was young also triggered memories of “spring cleaning.” Endless weekends cleaning the garage, cleaning the house, sorting clothes and items for Goodwill donations. I guess we all need a good once-over. Although, you should probably wait until we have a dry weekend to do so.

Gardening, cleaning, spiritual self-reflection. How do you mark springtime in North County? There’s no one-way to do it.

Vince Vasquez is an economist based in Torrey Pines. He is a Carlsbad resident.