Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Spring has finally arrived!
Our winter has been extremely mild this year, so I don’t mean to imply that I’ve been waiting impatiently while snowed in or waiting out a frigid icy winter. And though our temperatures have been relatively warm (we did just have the fourth warmest winter on record), I was extremely tired of the brown and gray landscape that our winter brings.
The hillsides in the winter are extremely dreary. The evergreens lends a small amount of color, but not much.
When those spring colors finally start to pop, it seems that the whole world changes. The end-of-the-winter surliness that had settled on the world appears to lift off on that very first bright and shiny day of spring. That first day of REAL spring feels like a magical day.
It seems that every single person in my community was hitting the home improvement stores and nurseries for their flowers on that first warm and sunny day. The frost-free date might not have arrived, but everyone is just itching to plant “just a few inexpensive flowers” to add to the spring feeling, and make their yards a little colorful. As a result, the whole world seems to be on the move: traffic is heavy, the stores are full, families are out and about, and people actually seem to be smiling at each other!
While the grass has just barely turned from its winter brown-yellow, you can feel tension in the air as if everything is holding its breath, waiting. Things just seem to FEEL like they are ready to burst forth with buds. And they truly are … if you look very closely, you can see the little buds just waiting to POP! On everything.
And then it happens … slowly at first. The first trees bloom and peek out of the forest and tree lines.
The poor Bradford Pear blooms first. So many people I know hate the poor maligned Bradford Pear. They say the wood is useless, the limbs are too heavy and so break off in a mild storm, and they make a mess. I say: Bloom, Bradford Pear, bloom! And once they are done blooming, they are the first to fill out and become full, very much like a kindergartener’s drawing of trees!
The redbuds bloom next in our part of the world. Looking at the hillsides, that deep pink is bold against that bland backdrop. The redbuds bloom with crocus, tulips and daffodils. And who can look at those blotches of color without smiling after three solid months of gray?
Next comes the wisteria, without any of its green leaves. They almost look like bunches of grapes hanging stark purple against the white trellises. Their wonderful fragrance is so pervasive that even young people, usually too busy to notice such small pleasures, take note.
And then, shyly, the dogwood opens its blossoms. They seem to hide behind the other trees, waiting for just the right time to show their prettiness. All around their delicate faces other trees are welcoming the spring with bold bursts of growth.
And then those mighty willows sprout and you can see their gently waving arms reaching almost to the ground.
The maples are fully shading the old house now with their new growth. And though the towering old pecan tree was late putting out its spring suit, it is starting to catch up to those around it.
The oak has dumped its pollen all over and is leafing out as if it is winning a contest! The peaches we planted last year are putting out blossoms and trying to act grown up, just like a toddler mimicking their parent.
The roses, cut back in March, are now blooming, smell divine, and are already needing to be deadheaded to continue the growth of those beautiful flowers.
The mustard has taken over some of the fields and fights with the grass. That tussle makes for a beautiful view off into the foothills.
And then the whole world around us is bursting: with color, with pollen, with spring sounds, and with divine fragances.
Nothing is free in this world, though, and spring color and renewed life is no exception. The price this year: a virulent allergy season that has sent people (and my dogs) into sneezing fits and days on end of red and runny eyes. But we can still see all that spring color through the veil of smeary tears!
- Maura White grew up on the Pacific Coast in a sleepy beach town and has lived all over the country, as well as in Asia. What a change it was for her to move to the country and she uses humor to help her make the adjustment. She and her husband are working to make their farm, Double Star Bar Farms, a successful family farm. She keeps busy with her stained glass business, which you can check out at www.southernstainedglass.com. You can read more of her stories at whitem4.wordpress.com. She keeps saying “You can take the girl away from the ocean, but you can’t take the ocean out of the girl!” Copyright © 2012, Maura White. All rights reserved.