Signs of spring abound in Forest Park — most of them are encouraging:

  • Pink vehicle stickers are sprouting on windshields.
  • Yellow and blue signs are sprouting on lawns. They say “We Stand with Ukraine.” O’Sullivan’s is distributing them in exchange for a $10 donation. The money goes to UYCO, which stands for Ukrainian Youth Camping Organization.
  • New restaurant bars are popping up along Madison Street. 
  • Thanks to the return of sunshine, some of us are sprucing up our ghost-like appearance with a little third-degree sunburn.
  • Grills are being fired up, bike tires are being pumped up and TVs are being turned off.
  • Branches are budding, puddles are puddling, and bird feeders are busy.
  • Homeowners are making the tough choice of planting grass seed or putting down sod to cover the mud with a toupee.
  • Empty plastic water bottles are popping up on sidewalks and lawns. Plastic has contaminated the planet from the bottom of the ocean to the peak of Mt. Everest. Micro-plastics are appearing in human blood streams. Isn’t it time we switch to refillable containers?
  • Restaurants are reopening their outdoor seating, park benches are being used. Soon, lounging on lawn chairs will replace collapsing on couches. 
  • Athletic activity has returned to The Park. Some are sore from playing sports. But it’s that good kind of soreness that reminds us, hey, the limbs still work. 
  • Garden hoses are being reconnected, cars are clean again, and some extremists are even washing windows. 
  • Face masks are disappearing. We no longer have to smile with just our eyes. 
  • After the lightning speed of hockey and the quickness of basketball, we once again have to adjust to the snail pace of baseball. 
  • The name may not be hip but many of us are looking forward to the return of Groovin’ in the Grove.
  • Shorts are being worn again, exposing pale skin that may be blinding. 
  • Thermal underwear is going out of style. Parkas are being retired. Boots are no longer mandatory. 
  • Forest Parkers returning from spring break vacations have only one question on their minds, “Why?”  
  • Teachers, students and school bus drivers are counting down the days. 
  • Windows are opening, fresh air is flowing. Can putting out the porch furniture be far behind?
  • Outdoor tours are coming, while indoor concerts and plays and audiences have finally returned. 
  • Neighbors who haven’t seen each other in months will get reacquainted. 
  • Summer blockbusters are coming. Will they ever stop making superhero movies? 
  • It’s no longer getting dark at 5:30. 
  • Backyard parties are returning but may require a fire. 
  • Sox fans are right to be excited, while some Cub fans continue to be delusional. 
  • Primaries are coming and it’s exciting to get campaign fliers in the mail.
  • Cardinals are singing, but I’ll settle for a sparrow. 
  • Bees and butterflies will make a comeback. Can’t wait for mosquitoes. 
  • Deer-sightings will increase and skunks will make their presence known. 
  • Taking walks will be a pleasure instead of a trudge. 

Ah, spring!

Correction (April 5, 2 p.m.): This story was updated to reflect the correct name of the UYCO.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.