Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Nothing better than spring in the Ozarks

While running some errands yesterday I couldn't help but notice the hills and hollows in the distance. There is no question that emerging leaves on the trees have colored the landscape a special shade of green reminiscent of the "spring green crayon" I remember from my earliest days a long time ago. Gosh, when was the last time I saw one of those? 

The redbuds are in their final phase of blooming; flowering dogwoods are abundant. Lilacs and other spring plants and bushes add to the beauty of the close and distant views. And then there is the scent. A sweet smell rides the gentle breezes that bear witness to perfect temperatures in a perfect time of year. 

And, the hummingbirds have returned.

Who doesn’t love a spring day? I wonder if I can stand another winter.

While we had a fairly mild one, there was a day that stretched my tolerance. It was a crazy snow storm, one that brought eight or so inches of the wettest snow I have ever seen. The power went out because of the weight of the heavy snow on branches unable to bear the weight. I couldn't start the wood stove in our all-electric house, because the fire wood was so wet, not to mention old, so it started getting pretty chilly inside. Every time I tried to start a fire, it just kept going out. Our dear friends brought some dry firewood to help us out. I finally got a really nice fire going. The temperature started to improve, but a short time later, smoke started billowing out of the stove pipe and the back of the stove. The house started filling with smoke. I didn’t know what to do, so I closed the flu and rearranged the logs inside so the fire would go out. Our eyes burned and throat hurt. Just then, thankfully, the power came back on. I turned on the whole house fan, opened some windows, retrieved a fan from the sun porch, and turned on the ceiling fan as fast as it would go. Finally, the smoke cleared. We called the chimney guys who said it wasn’t a chimney fire, the chimney was fully open, and so it must have been the heavy snow on the roof that blocked the smoke’s escape.

That was at the end of January and I am just getting over the cough.

Last fall was beautiful; it was colorful despite the record hot temperatures last summer. The fall was heavenly. In fact, I almost thought fall could take over springtime as my favorite season. This has never happened to me before. I always considered fall as just a prelude to winter, of which I am not fond. 

But now that spring is here, there is no contest. I remember all the things I love about this season of new life. The activities of spring are exhausting and exhilarating. The promise of gardening and tidying up property, deep cleaning inside and out; it is lots of work. But it is good work--the kind of work that makes you feel really good about yourself. Even taking a shower takes on a new dimension. Showers are just more enjoyable as hot water soothes aching muscles. Soap mingles with dirt encrusted arms and legs and then swirls down the drain. When done, you feel like a new person.

A walk in the yard always reveals surprises, like the first daffodil, tulip, hyacinth, and crocus. Shoots from last year's flowers emerge, anxious to begin their new life cycles, frogs and birds sing their springtime songs. I just inventoried a bluebird nest and discovered five tiny blue eggs. I can't wait to see them grow. Until we moved to Arkansas, I hadn't seen a bluebird at my house since I was a little girl playing in empty lots in the city. There were plenty of them back then, even in an urban setting. Hummingbird sightings were very rare as well. That is not so in the Natural State. Making hummingbird food is a weekly chore added to an every-growing list. But, it is one I relish.

I haven't begun the vegetable garden yet, but that is on my list of things to do very soon. I planted a couple of tuberous begonias I ordered in the dead of winter. I can't wait to see them. I now have a begonia garden in front of the porch, enhanced with a few annual begonias I picked up at the grocery store. Planting, plants, and flowers just makes me happy.

There is nothing like spring in the Ozarks. This is the season for life anew, not to mention joy and pleasure. And, there is no place like my own backyard.


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