Evolution of Spring

I hesitate to revisit the topic of spring since every time I think spring is here to stay the temperatures plunge. Spring seems to be playing hide and seek this year. Just when it seems safe to bring out the capri pants, I find myself reaching for the turtleneck sweater to ward off the chill. However, we have had a few warm days where I’ve been able to pedal down the road. As I pedal, my mind wanders as I take note of the landscape.

I’ve been thinking about the book Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Obed. I love how seamlessly she wove the story relating it to the various types of ice. I wondered if there was something I could write like that. That’s when I woke up to the changing scenery. So here is my version of Eighteen Kinds of Blooms.

The world of nature sleeps during the winter, gathering its energy to make a statement when spring returns. Slowly the ground thaws to allow the crocus and grape hyacinth to peek through the khaki colored grass. They are the first bits of color to whet the appetite for the color that is about to come.

As they fade away the tulip tree (not sure what this tree is, click here) begins the parade for all flowering trees. Too often this tree is bitten by cold temperatures and never gets to show-off for all who pass by. While eyes are looking up, they look down too. Hyacinths are spears of fragrant color. Daffodils bob in the wind.  Then the forsythia breaks out in a mass of sunshine on a branch, mounds of yellow dot the land.

Bradford pear trees burst into bloom, but their flower fades quickly as the leaves are anxious to appear. Now when I look down, tulips appear to replace the daffodils. The phlox is warming up as it overflows the beds spreading the carpet of purple. That same orchid color becomes

crabtree

aredbud tree cloud of color in the woods as redbud trees pop up in surprising places. Fruit trees, flowering crab trees,
and sand cherry trees compete for attention in the air. Back to the ground, minuscule wildflowers dot the yards with dainty blooms. All too often there is that pushy weed, the dandelion, trying to take over the entire yard.

yard

Slowly the dogwood tree begins to open up.

maple

When viewed from a distance, the blossoms appear to be suspended snowflakes among the slowly leafing trees. The new leaves timidly begin the opening process,

every shade of green can be seen. Although when you look closely not all new leaves are green. There are shades of red and rust too.

Lilacs have begun to bloom. Every day as I ride a few more buds have opened up to allow me to inhale their fragrance as I pedal past. Peonies and irises sprout. They won’t be blooming yet, but they hold the promise of color to come. Soon the bedding plants will appear in yards and trees will be  fully leafed out. Even though spring has been slow to evolve, it is always a joy to watch the procession of color appear.

Update on our new neighbors: two have hatched as of Sunday.

Update on our new neighbors: two have hatched as of Sunday.

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I Knew It Was Spring . . .

Check out more slices at Two Writing Teachers

Check out more slices at Two Writing Teachers

I knew spring finally arrived when my husband announced, “It’s shopping time again.” No, he was not telling me to head out to the nearest mall and find the latest styles for my wardrobe. He was referring to the birds who come to my small bicycle planter.  It seems that coco liners are just what the birds need to create that special touch in the nest.

For about two weeks the birds land on the rim, take stock of what they see, then they begin the process of dismantling the dirt filled liner. Robins are the greediest, but wrens have been spotted pulling out their fair share. They peck, pull, pluck until their beak is full. Off they fly to construct their nests. Moments later someone else is back on the rim gathering another beakful.

I suppose the building time has passed, as no one has been to the planter for a few days. I know they will return as soon as we put in the new liner and dirt.

The following robin pictures were taken from inside the house with the lens zoomed to catch the shoppers in action.

Easy picking or should I say easy pecking for the nest.

Easy picking or should I say easy pecking for the nest.

She checks out the possibilities with a critical eye.

She checks out the possibilities with a critical eye.

Do you think you could get another strand in that beak?

Do you think you could get another strand in that beak?

The current condition of the bike planter.

The current condition of the bike planter.

See the gap in the tree? A wren found a new home.

See the gap in the tree? A wren found a new home.

Soon we will have new neighbors on the side of our house.

Soon we will have new neighbors on the side of our house.

I knew spring would finally arrive. I just had to be patient.

Moments of Panic

My mother doesn’t need to get out in when the weather is uncooperative, so I stop by her apartment to pick up her grocery list and an envelope of tax information to mail. I slip her money and list into my right coat pocket.

Just before I get to the store I notice my gas light is blinking. I need to fill up and how convenient, there is a gas station in the parking lot. I use my credit card to get the gas. I slip the credit card into my left pocket with my cell phone because I will need it in the store in just a few minutes.

I pull into a parking place, grab the envelope to mail, and head into the store. First stop, get the postage for the envelope. Done!

Heading to the carts my phone rings. it’s my husband reminding me of a friend’s birthday. Yes dear, I will pick up a birthday card. As I am talking, I notice there is only a glove in my pocket. Where is the credit card? Panic is bubbling up as I hang up the phone. Feverishly I am searching pockets, checking out my purse. No card! I run out to the car, did it fall out there? No? I run to the gas station. I scan the area where I pumped the gas, nothing. I asked inside if anyone turned in a card, not today was the response.

I head back to the grocery store and return to the counter where I bought the postage. Fearfully, I inquire did anyone turn in a credit card just now? This time the answer is yes. Relief floods through my body. The clerk asks to see identification (thank you for that), then she returns my card to me.

Thank you to the honest person who found this card. I think, well now I have a slice to write, but I hope to never repeat this again.

Colorful Ride

Finally, spring seems to have blown into town so I was able to take my bike out on the road. As I pedaled along, the colors of spring waved to me from the side lines. I had to hop off the bike and snap a few quick pictures to remember the vibrant colors of spring. (Just in case there are days ahead that aren’t quite so bright.)

Spears of grape hyacinth put the grass to shame.

Spears of grape hyacinth put the grass to shame.

Who wins the competition in the category of yellow?

forsythia

daffodils

These poor blossoms looked like they were in jail, looking for a way to escape.

These poor blossoms looked like they were in jail, looking for a way to escape.

The trees didn’t want to be left out. They waved their branches as I pedaled by. They reminded me of those students who wave their arms wildly saying, “Ooo, ooo!”

pink

Did it snow?

Did it snow?

I savor the evidence of spring’s arrival, finally!

The Free Ride Day

When you get an offer to drive a brand new car that is a hybrid for a day, you just can’t pass it up. So with one click of the mouse and one phone call we had a brand new hybrid Toyota Avalon for a day.

Before we headed out to St. Louis, we stopped to get a hair cut. We are in no hurry. Our day stretched before us with no one to meet and no place to beat any specified time. We stopped back by the house to pick up an auxiliary cord from my car so we can use my phone to listen to Pandora on the 3.5 hour drive to St. Louis.

I suggested that we stop in St. James (2 hours away) to have lunch at a restaurant we both like. This should put us there shortly after 11 o’clock. (I was already starving.) The bonus was, we had a gift card to this restaurant.

We were on the road less than twenty minutes when neon pink signs appeared along the sides of the highway. Incident ahead. Great! Traffic came to a stop. We rolled on. We stopped. We moved slightly and so on until we came to the incident. A tractor-trailer had tipped over and they were unloading it into another trailer. I felt sorry for that driver, but now we were moving again. It was about a 20-30 minute delay. (My stomach grumbled at the delay, so I fed it a peppermint lifesaver.)

It was past noon when we get to the restaurant for lunch. I already knew what I wanted because I read the menu on my phone. (My stomach demanded “Feed me!” The waitress offered bread, I eagerly accepted.) Reuben sandwich with homemade chips for me. Blackened chicken sandwich with salad for my husband. My Reuben was a disappointment, the bread was toasted not grilled, however the corn beef was tasty and tender. Loved the fresh chips! My husband had no complaints. The gift card totally covered the bill and we were on our way again.

The sun was shining in on me and my seat warmer was on high, so I savored that warmth spreading through my body. I wanted this trip so I would have time to finish reading The False Prince. When I had started it on Sunday, I thought I might abandon the book. However, Jennifer left a comment on my post that made me determined to continue on.

We arrived in St. Louis and headed straight for the REI store. We each wandered around in the sections that interested us. I ended up with a bike skort with capri leggings. My husband found a pair pants where you can zip off the bottom half and have shorts. These pants will work great for traveling when you have to have knees covered but it is hot and you don’t want to wear long pants all day.

Our goal for the day was achieved. We could not think of another thing we wanted to do, so we headed for home. It was a nice diversion. We had been home too many days, trapped by weather. We each got something at the REI store. I finished my book. My husband loved driving the car. (No, we are not getting one.) I did not have to cook lunch or dinner for a day. We were home by 7:30 so I could read slices and make comments. All things considered, it was a good day.

On Sunday I told my son about our adventure. His response was a pause of dead air on the phone, followed by, “That sounds like something retired people would do. Kinda boring.”

I laughed and told him it doesn’t take much to entertain us.