Brave little crocus, sure sign of spring

Jerry Apps
The little, yellow crocus flower is a reminder that yes, spring is on its way.

Some rain.  A little snow that covers the ground, but not enough to shovel. A hint of sunshine and lots of thick, gray clouds. A warm breeze, but not often.  A cold wind from the north, too often. 

This is spring in the north. Spring in Wisconsin. I suffer through April, not knowing what will come next, not knowing how I should prepare, if prepare at all.  I remember it similar to the many Aprils I have experienced over the years.

And then I see it, peeking through the drab brown of last fall’s leaves.  A flash of yellow—but only when the sun is shining for it apparently, like the rest of us, doesn’t care much for gloomy and dark. 

I’m talking about those little yellow flowers, one of the first flowers to come out in spring.  A beautiful yellow crocus.  A brave little flower with quite a story—I looked it up.

Crocus flowers can be found in southern Europe, central China, the Middle East and Africa. There are 80 different species of crocus and they all belong to the iris family.  They will grow in forests, open areas, and in my front yard. 

And they are old. Very old. The history of crocus flowers dates back thousands of years. Some of the earliest references to the crocus flower come from Bronze Age Greece, about 3,500 years ago as well as ancient Egypt.

For many people the crocus flower symbolizes rebirth, innocence, joy, and new-beginnings. For me it means that yes, spring has not forgotten us living in the north. It is on its way, led by a little yellow flower that is not afraid to peek out from beneath its blanket of leaves. Willing to appear before the tulips and daffodils.

Let’s give a round of applause to the crocus.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: The little, yellow crocus flower is a reminder that yes, spring is on its way.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to