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TRAVELING IN STYLE : Correspondents' Choice : HOW DO YOU KNOW IT'S SPRING?

March 07, 1993|William Tuohy, London bureau | Six Times correspondents from around the world identify the harbingers of the season in cities they have covered.

IN LONDON

FOR MANY READERS OF THE AUGUST TIMES OF LONDON, THE END OF ENGland's long gray winter is heralded by the year's first report, in the newspaper's letters-to-the-editor column, of the sighting of a cuckoo bird, with its distinctive cry. But for most Londoners, the first sign of spring comes not from the air but from the ground: Spring is in the flowers.

First, tiny white snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis , sprinkle Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James Park; then the purple crocus peeps forth; finally, the brilliant, Wordsworthian sprays of yellow and white daffodils push up through the sod and seem to blanket every public lawn in the city. And then Londoners themselves bloom, escaping to their flowering parks on lunch hours and weekends, renting the green canvas deck chairs that have been set up for this purpose, turning their wan faces, like heliotropic plants, toward the pale fire of the strengthening sun.

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