It’s the same every year. April rolls around and I start itching to plant things. A true sign of the growing season where I live is the white tent pitched in the parking lot of the local Jewel grocery store, with promises of geraniums, snapdragons, other annuals, rosebushes and perennials for sale. Flower bed and landscaping heaven for the likes of me. But in my neck of the woods, I never plant anything until May has arrived and it’s often necessary to cover things at night for a while.
Call me a native southerner, a transplanted southerner or originally from the south, but twenty-one years have passed since I lived in that part of the country. This is a time of year that I long for being there; I get homesick for it in the spring. I’m envious of my southern friends and family who are enjoying the beauty of spring, and their ability to plant things long before I will. The warmth, the endless color and the extreme pleasure of just being outside and drinking in all of nature’s beauty are things that I can’t describe with words. The world comes to life. Photographs don’t do it justice. It’s necessary to be there, feel it, to experience it. And I miss it in the spring.
Probably a lot of it has to do with nostalgia. So much of this time of year reminds me of my grandmother. I associate magnolia trees and dogwoods with her, their blooms a feast for the eyes. There were honeysuckle vines in her yard and I remember sucking the nectar from the blooms during the late spring when I was a child. Easter was celebrated with and around my grandmother…Sunday dinner was at her house with Easter egg hunts afterward. It’s a time of year that I miss her most. Perhaps that’s why I ache for the southern springtime.
As winter nods its head and goes to sleep, I will long for a certain time of my life that has passed, but moving away allowed me to appreciate the other seasons. While northern springs don’t seem as long, colorful or as warm as those in the south, autumn in the north is spectacular. And it’s something you won’t find in the southern states. The duration of color and cool but comfortable temperatures are things to experience. I learned to love winter and its snow (often a lot of it); and I certainly appreciate summer when humidity levels aren’t making you wilt or pass out. If I could pick one place to live, its seasons would be a combination of all the above…the perfect climate, at least in my opinion. I’m not sure there is such a place.
So I will continue to watch for that white tent. It’s not there yet, but I noticed this morning the area is roped off, with bags of mulch and potting soil waiting for its arrival. It’ll be my cue that it’s okay to at least start browsing and buying, even if it is too early to plant. There is the garage after all, when the chill remains in the air and plants have to come inside.
Then I’ll continue reading about spring (with longing) from all of my southern Facebook friends, while being content with tulip-filled vases inside my house.