In my neck of the woods, spring is really starting to gear up now. The Bradford pear trees (including the one in our backyard) scatter their tiny white petals all over and when the wind blows right, the blowing petals resemble random snow flurries in the bright sunlight. Unlike the freewheeling Bradford pears, the redbuds retain their conservative values – the fuchsia flowers keeping close to the smooth limbs and branches of their mother tree. The crocuses have disappeared for the most part now, but the yellow forsythia bushes are still going strong.
In the redbud trees, a plethora of winged pollinators (mostly bees, although there’s a few tiger butterflies as well) are buzzing away. The skies are full of enamored birdsong, the tress with nest-building and egg-laying. The past two years since we moved into our home, a swallow and her mate have consistently made their nest in one of the metal roof beams in our carport. I call her Mrs. Bird and sometimes I like to talk to her while she’s sitting on her nest.
I’ve apologized for my rambunctious son – who scares her sometimes when he’s especially happy to play outside – countless times, but she must not mind his games too much as she’s returned each year without fail. Along with Mr. and Mrs. Bird, we have several pairs of cardinals (the North Carolina state bird) who like to hang around our home too. They stay all year round and in the dead of winter, seeing them is always nice because their red coloring reminds you of holly berries.
Since the local stores started selling birdseed a few weeks after New Year’s Day, I’ve taken to throwing out healthy amounts of birdseed in the yard. After the relatively barren winter that the non-migrating birds have endured, as well as the long migrations the songbirds have finished, I figure they needed a pick-me-up. The cardinals, the sparrows, and chickadees have wasted no time in eating up all the nuts, seeds, and berry pieces they can.
I like to think I’m making up for clearing out the sheltering saplings and undergrowth they used for cover over in the fenced-in area I plan on using for a garden. I’ve had great fun since December clearing it out and I hope that before the spring planting season is finished, I’ll be able to get something in the ground. I love vegetables of all kinds and with grocery prices rising, it seems like a good time to take a step towards a more self-sustaining lifestyle. Granted, I don’t consider myself an outdoorsy person—my enjoyment of spring (and the outdoors in general) usually centers around sitting quietly in the sun and listen to birdsong, watching the antics of the squirrels, cleaning up the yard a little, or just feeling the wind against my skin.
When I was a bit younger (and before I had my son), I would go with friends to South Mountain State Park from time to time to do some light hiking. We would always make it fun by packing our backpacks with lunch, a towel or a blanket to sit on, and someone would always play music while we ate. It was fun and usually we would play in the creeks and streams along the trail. Often we’d pick up trash along the way that others had carelessly left behind (that always made us so angry—you bring it in, you carry it back out, you know), but we didn’t let that kind of thing ruin our good time.
I would like to get out to South Mountain again soon though. It’s a popular place for people to camp and go hiking in around my area and I don’t know anyone who goes that doesn’t take pictures of the mountain laurels and Jacob Falls. It’s a wonderfully lush state park and one can’t help but feel the magic of the land there. I wasn’t able to introduce my friend, Mary, to South Mountain but maybe when we get to spend some time together, we can make that happen.
Mary’s out there in the wilderness, attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail this year, so she’ll be able to outpace me by a mile, no doubt, but we’ll have fun all the same. Doing a Thru-hike of the Trail has been a dream of hers for a long time and I’m psyched for her that she’s finally getting to do it. She’s a great writer (no matter what she says 😉) and if anyone is interested in following along with her journey on the Trail, here’s a link to her website and blog: https://www.maryleavines.com/links.
Well, I guess that’s all for now. Enjoy the lovely pictures of the spring flowers down below. In the days to come, the minutes I have away from my studies and my family, I’m going to spend enjoying every moment of spring I can soak up.