The way the poet e. e. cummings saw it, spring is a time of hopscotch, jump rope and dancing, a time when the world turns "mud-luscious" with melting snows or cool rains.
For weather-weary Washingtonians, spring officially arrived yesterday at 6:43 p.m., bringing with it sunny skies, warm temperatures and mild breezes. To some, at least, those gifts seemed nothing less than peace offerings by a repentant Mother Nature, and all across the Washington area people were finding their own way to celebrate.
The first graders at Park View Elementary School at Warder and Newton streets in Northwest Washington took a walk along Quincy Street NW to look for signs of spring. Then they read poems and made up some of their own to reflect the sights they saw. The school's second graders, meanwhile, planted carrots and potatoes in dirt-filled milk cartons because, their principal explained later, spring is a time to watch things grow.
Twelve-year-old Cheryl Wilson of 113 T St. NW presented her fellow students at Patterson Junior High School in the District with a spring poem about roses, lilies, bullfrogs, butterflies and birds."Such a wonderous beautiful sight to see/One of the most beautiful sights there can be," she wrote.
In Rockville, meanwhile, Wallace Shirley, 71, and Blythe Hatter, 65, both retired, played their first nine holes of golf in 1978 yesterday at the Falls Road Golf Course. "We played terribly," Hatter complained. But, then, the two men haven't been able to play on the Falls Road Golf Course for the 3 1/2 months because of adverse weather conditions.$"That's the longest they've ever had to keep the field closed in winter. Usually we'd be able to play golf some time during each month," Shirley said, as he scanned the course, still damp and soft in several spots and covered by dead grass.
Across Montgomery County, road crews worked at repairing eroded shoulder lanes, at graveling and grading the unpaved road in the upper county area, and performing other maintenance odds and ends because "mud-luscious" spring is also pothole plentiful.
"Spring means repairing what winter put there for us to fix," said state road worker Charles Onley of Dickerson, who was helping to lay a drain pipe yesterday beneath West Montgomery Avenue in Rockville.
Though Onley associates spring with work, there were many others whose "fancy," as Tennyson noted lightly turned "to thoughts of love."
"I like to get outdoors in the spring . . . I see a lot of interesting things when I'm out - among them females types," said Eric Hjertberg of Potomac, an employe of the county Environmental Planning Department. "My love life is definitely more active in the spring," added the self-proclaimed bachelor.
"People seem to come out of their shells in spring, and their thoughts naturally turn to love, which in some cases means they also eventually turn to divorce suits," said Rockville attorney Gary Godard. He added that he, too, will soon be an eligible bachelor.
Harold Hess of the National Weather Service said that spring is even mild ones like last Thursday's seem likely, he promised. Yesterday's temperatures were in the high 50s and today's are expected to reach 70, although showers are predicted for the late afternoon or evening.
For the rest of the week, "we'll have typical spring weather - a few showers, mild temperatures, and winds from the south," Hess said.
The moment of the vernal equinox was at 6:34 p.m. yesterday, Hess added. That is the moment when the sun is exactly above the equator. The sun is moving northward, providing longer daylight hours and warmer weather.