So many sights prove a salve to the senses
All year I wait for spring.
Last year to my chagrin, it arrived in late fall. The heat hung on and on, confusing plants, wildlife and people. Then winter set in, six weeks late and the waiting game began.
I think of Florida has having “fast” months and “slow” months. January can be a delightful succession of Northern spring days. February wavers back and forth. March flies by in a frenzy. April dallies. In May, summer sets in, and June, July and August go by in slow motion. Some would argue that September should be dropped from the calendar. Fall’s getting later, but is always a welcome reprieve from the heat.
As for spring, trees are my bellwether. Red maples key out, oaks drop their leaves and pines grow “candles.” With the days growing longer, Southern dewberry, pennyroyal, pawpaw, blue-eyed grass and toadflax pop up. Walter’s viburnum blooms along roadsides.
Shy iris favors watery places. I stop by a stream to photograph the first of the season — always the most beautiful.
Lupine likes it dry. Often my botanist friend, John Beckner, and I found it blooming in hot sandy places. All winter I wait for the lupine to bloom at Oscar Scherer State Park.
This year at Little Manatee River State Park, I almost missed the fringe trees in bloom, a rare sight in Florida.
Like some avian airport, Florida is full of departures and arrivals — robins and swallow-tailed kites, just to mention a few. On windy days, migrants blown off course pull in the birders. In my yard, raucous jays, cardinals and woodpeckers announce their availability! Screech owls court at dawn and dusk. Black racers mate.
Though timetables are a bit off, one sure thing is that too soon, spring is gone. If you blink, you might miss it.