Today is one of those days you absolutely know it’s spring because the landscape is screaming the news. The clear blue sky and bright sun provide a perfect backdrop for this landscape of show-stopping color.
You know “spring has sprung” here when the water and willow oaks sport new, light green leaves that sparkle in the sun. The live oaks have the same sparkly new green leaves that have pushed the old dark green leaves to the ground, overnight it seems.
In every yard the azaleas are heaping mounds of pink, white and deep rose blooms, overtopped with lacey dogwoods with their white blooms dancing on the wind. Pale purple branches of wisteria cascade from some arbors, while others are hidden by bright yellow Lady Banksee roses.
The long-branched spirea are covered with white blooms while the loropetalum bushes sport pale burgundy. Beds of daffodils and amaryllis show colors of crèam to gold to rose and candy stipe. And this year for the first time in a number of years, the yellow and purple swamp iris are blooming.
What a contrast this is to the springs I remember growing up in south-central Nebraska. My memory is of a day of gentle, warm rain, the puddle making kind that called for splashing barefoot along the sidewalk.
I remember tiny purple violets blooming in clusters along the walk and perhaps the first lavender buds showing on the lilac bushes. In Nebraska spring flowers come in late April, early May, first the violets and lilac, then tulips and daffodils. If all goes well, iris and peonies will be in full bloom in time for decorating the graves on Memorial Day.
In many years – this one included — the end of March is marked by winter’s last blast: a severe blizzard that roars from the mountains of the West to the East Coast, acting much like the lion of the old saying.
In South Mississippi, however, spring often comes early in March and whether it comes then or a few weeks later, it arrives it’s with an explosion of color. In the High Plains when spring does arrive, it’s much more subtle, resembling something more like a turtle dove with its soft cooing.
Wherever you are and whatever month it is, spring brings the same message: Hello! Wake up! Come out! Revel in the joy of renewed life all around us.