Published in the Rains County Leader on March 14, 2017:
Spring doesn’t officially arrive for another few days, but the East Texas vegetation doesn’t seem to care. The daffodils came and went several weeks ago, and although I haven’t seen any yet, I’ve heard that the bluebonnets are in bloom. Blooms are popping out on a lot of the trees, and many of the others are taking on that pale yellowish, green color of fresh, new leaves.
Saturday, as David and I walked out of the house to go to the American Legion pancake breakfast, I noticed that a patch of irises in front of the motor home were sporting deep purple flowers. I’ve also noticed some new green poking up through the layer of dead leaves in the bed in front of the house, and I’m looking forward to day lilies in the not too distant future.
When we finished eating and visiting with friends and returned home a little later, I took a walk around the back of our property where dogwoods, red buds, and blackberry vines are in bloom. Most of the year, the dogwoods are scraggly, untamed, and untrimmed, but for the few days when they are covered in white blooms, they are gorgeous.
The red buds are wild, too, but they bring beauty to some otherwise not-so- beautiful settings. A shallow creek borders our property, but the bed is about six feet below level, and the narrow stream is only visible from the edge of the bank. Since access and working room are limited, deadwood remains where it falls and serves as a disorganized trellis for all sorts of vines and briars. Still, when the Master Gardner adds His own touches of color, tangles of dry, dead-looking wood become photo-worthy scenes.
David’s favorites, of course, are the blackberry vines. I don’t know if they were originally planted around the slab that was poured and abandoned years before we purchased the property, but now they grow unattended on two sides of the concrete square. Judging from the number of blooms I saw on Saturday, I imagine there are cobblers in our future.
All this is the good part of Spring. One of the bad parts is that it came so early. After the weather begins to warm, we usually have at least one more cold snap before Easter. A late freeze could do damage to the new growth that won’t be repaired until next year. Another negative is that new growth means new weeds. I’ve heard a number of moans and groans about having to pull the mower out of storage earlier than normal. From a personal perspective, I’m also suffering a small amount of guilt about not taking advantage of the warm weather to plant a garden. It seems a shame to let all that open space go to waste; however, considering all the other projects I have going right now, I think I’ll just learn to live with the guilt.
The really ugly aspect of Spring, regardless of when it comes, is the pollen. When we first looked at the car on Saturday, David wondered if we had experienced a dust storm. Then, we realized the yellowish film that had settled onto the windshield and the red paint was pollen. Later, when I took my mini nature walk, David went with me. By the time we returned to the house, we were both covered in the stuff up to our knees. We dusted ourselves off before coming into the house, and we closed all the windows, but it was too late. By bedtime, David was suffering from a full-blown allergy attack, complete with every possible type of upper-respiratory distress.
In addition to cobblers, I see a trip to the pharmacy in my future. We’re going to need antihistamine, decongestant, cough suppressant, nasal spray, and lots of tissues. In spite of it all, the good still outweighs the bad and the ugly, and Spring is still my favorite season.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos
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