(in order of appearance)
1) The Tisza River turns a turquoise blue – the color I’ve always seen in movies for cold water but never believed could exist naturally – and chunks of ice come floating down from the mountains.
2) The huge clumps of green and festive mistletoe that cling to hundreds of trees around the area start turning yellow and limp.
3) The afore-mentioned sidewalk transformation.
4) The mountains are visible more often. Sometimes they’re fuzzy, sometimes they appear like crisp pictures from a pop-up book.
5) Birds, birds, birds, birds.
6) People burn whole sections of land to be rid of the underbrush, and the ash floats down to Beregszász streets like snow.
7) Vine dressers prune their vineyards and stack the old branches in piles along the rows of grapes. Homeowners trim the vines growing over their driveways and yards.
8 ) There are GREEN ONIONS and SPINACH for sale at the market! Oh, my happy soul! I’ve been eating root vegetables since November.
Finally, this last anecdote likely has nothing to do with spring, but I had to tell it somewhere. On Thursday, I was walking in Beregszász on my way to class, and I saw a man sitting high up in a tree. Supporting himself by clinging with he legs, he had a branch bigger than a human leg in one hand and an ax in the other. He swung the ax with one hand, attempting to cut off the branch he was holding. There were no ropes holding him in place, no other people spotting him or the branch (or the innocents walking by) – just him and his ax and this very large branch. And then, with a loud thud, the head of his ax fell to the ground and he was left alone in the tree with a bare ax handle.
And today, my friends, was the springiest day yet. That ache in my bones has been replaced by a thrilled restlessness. Bisztos tavász jönn! Spring is surely coming!