THE BLOG
05/20/2014 10:52 am ET | Updated Jul 19, 2014

12 Things I Love About Spring

tulips Organic tulips at the Rodale Institute!

Yes, it's high spring here in Pennsylvania, and last night after dinner, as I was drifting off to sleep on my outdoor couch, I started making a mental list of all the things I love about this special season:

1. The air smells sweet. Yesterday, a woman who works mostly in New York came into my Pennsylvania office with the windows wide open and asked me, "Oh, my gosh, what smells so good?" My response: "Nature." This time of year, nature is the sweetest perfume. From the fragrant bushes to the scent of grass growing abundantly, it's the best smell ever, and no candle or perfume company can even come close to replicating it.

2. That morning when all the baby birds are born. It was just the other morning, in fact. Before I even opened my eyes I heard them all chirping for their breakfast of worms and bugs. It's like they're all born on the same day to create a symphony of baby bird-ness!

3. Tulips. My youngest gave herself the middle name of Tulip, and it has stuck for the past three years. This is her season, and while tulips don't usually have a fragrance, they are a beautiful display of diversity and fabulousness.

4. The green haze that starts on the forest floor. One day the forest is grey and brown; the next, you begin to see the green haze. And before you know it, the whole forest understory is covered in a fog of green that then bursts into...

5. The neon green of spring tree leaves. When you see something printed in neon green, it seems "unnatural" until you really, really look at a maple tree in the first few days of coming into leaf. It's pretty amazing, actually, just how vibrantly green nature can be.

6. Sitting outside. OK, let's be honest...lying down outside. On a blanket, on a couch, on a towel. Sitting is OK, too, but lying down is better.

7. Wild violets. You can eat them (the flowers). They taste good and look even better in salads or desserts. But more importantly, they just have a mind of their own and grow wherever they feel like, making a beautiful mat of perfect purple. No work or maintenance required.

8. Trees in flower. Before they turn that vibrant green, many of them burst out into a springtime aria of flowers. It's such a fleeting, fantastic, and fascinating moment. Savor it!

9. Frisky animals. Everything is a little bit frisky and delirious with the pleasure of spring. Playful, determined, not sure which way to run. The other day, I was sitting in my bed looking out the window, and I saw two squirrels running up and down the tree outside with leaves in their mouths. It took me a minute to realize they were making a nest. Baby squirrels right outside my window--coming soon!

10. Open windows. The nighttime sounds of spring peepers and foxes' barking, and the sweet scent of a moonlit night. Heaven!

11. Eating outside. Especially that first night when it's truly warm enough and dinner is homemade and everyone is together. Those dinners after which instead of clearing the table and doing the dishes right away, we jump on the trampoline (but not too much since we just ate) or play soccer.

12. The promise of summer. More to come. More to come. Don't complain to me about the heat!

For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com