Student Columnist

This spring break, let’s stop and smell the roses - literally


The dismissal bell rang at North Shore Hebrew Academy High as the school doors burst open with dozens of students— eager to escape their studies and embrace their freedom—crowding into the school field. After a long, hard winter semester, the springtime air was abuzz with talk of spring break plans: of flights to catch, movies to see, friends to visit.

But amid the fun hustle-and-bustle of making plans, for some, there were quite grumbles against solemn obligations to fulfill, things to do, promises to keep. For some of us, work cannot be put on hold while the world stops to refresh and smell the freshly sprouted roses.

For some, the happy prospect of spending a week “free” of classes is diminished by having to frantically study for the upcoming AP exams. And in my family, the excitement for the holiday of Passover, also known in Judaism as “The Holiday of Spring”, was somewhat dampened by the thought of cooking and cleaning to prepare for a bevy of guests.   

Suddenly, our so-called “Spring Break” is not really a break after all, but a “second winter” stuck at home plowing through tasks and assignments.

And yet, as I sit at my desk, looking out the window past the towering pile of papers, the new season brings its renewing sights, smells, and sounds. Outside, robins and hummingbirds convene to sing; a cardinal bird lands on the hanging branch of a nearby tree to feed its newly hatched chicks; a droplet of morning dew slides down a leaf and into the mouth of a hungry caterpillar.

While we go through life at a frantic pace, bogged down by looming deadlines and impending obligations, spring takes its time. Many of us have forgotten the magnetic pull of the outdoors and turned aside to its healing wisdom. Nature seems to have the opportunity to stop and reset. Maybe we should, too.

I’m finding time to take breaks from busy work to refresh. In fact, we can all use a time-out from the ongoing drama of our daily lives. You can do something as small and simple as taking a moment to smell the hyacinth in your living room or opening the windows to let in the fresh air or looking up from your smartphone to take note of the first flower blooming on the tree, or a butterfly sitting on a leaf. 

You’ll be surprised by what you’ll discover. And those of us seemingly far too busy to stop and smell the roses will find they are most in need of a good sniff.