first day of spring

In the village in the Ramtops where they understand what the Morris dance is all about, they dance it just once, at dawn, on the first day of spring. They don’t dance it after that, all through the summer. After all, what would be the point? What use would it be?
But on a certain day when the nights are drawing in, the dancers leave work early and take, from attics and cupboards, the other costume, the black one, and the other bells. And they go by separate ways to a valley among the leafless trees. They don’t speak. There is no music. It’s very hard to imagine what kind there could be.
The bells don’t ring. They’re made of octiron, a magic metal. But they’re not, precisely, silent bells. Silence is merely the absence of noise. They make the opposite of noise, a sort of heavily textured silence.
And in the cold afternoon, as the light drains from the sky, among the frosty leaves and in the damp air, they dance the other Morris. Because of the balance of things.
You’ve got to dance both, they say. Otherwise you can’t dance either.
—  Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

The Netherlands Celebrates the Start of Spring at Keukenhof

Want to see more photographs of spring in bloom? Be sure to visit the Keukenhof location page!

Today marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This date, known as the vernal equinox, also marks the annual opening of Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden, in the Netherlands. Though the park is only open for eight weeks every year, it attracts around 800,000 visitors looking to photograph the world famous Holland tulips. Home to seven million tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other spring bulbs that span over 32 hectares, Keukenhof is the place to see—and photograph—spring in bloom!

Happy first day of spring! Now is the perfect time to start planning a visit to America’s gorgeous public lands. Pictured here is a meadow of wildflowers at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington at sunset. Photo by Danny Seidman (