It didn't happen often, but when it did, Aunt Bett was the first one to tell me, "Wake up! Spring, it comes right early this year!" And I'd climb out of bed knowing exactly what I'd see.
That was many years ago, but today is no exception. Spring, it comes early this year.
Contrary to all the sudden global warming talk I hear around me, it's happened before. We've had early springs and late snows and killing frosts in late April, and there have been times in early fall when winds and rains took our leaves before they had time to change to red and gold. We don't always remember those years, concerned as we are about today.
It all started this year with the last day of February, as if the blooms couldn't wait any longer. We had a very mild winter, very few snowflakes, no ice, and little frost. Nothing worth mentioning. The rains of February were chilling, but again, nothing worth talking about. But suddenly things changed when February ended on the 29th. It was like March had been waiting to make a mad dash right into our lives. Those daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, dandelions, and vinca couldn't wait another minute to bloom. And they didn't wait, they have colored all the days of March, marking a path for ornamental trees and my redbud.
And back years ago if spring came early, and if the redbuds were blooming, it was for sure time to climb up the mountain to find patches of early greens. I think I started every spring with a fresh green salad of weeds, doused liberally with hot bacon grease and accompanied by hot buttered cornbread, (no sugar, please!) washed down with cold sweet tea.
Tender new leaves of dandelion and chickweed and sometimes a curled frond of fern found their way to our dinner table telling all of us it was for sure Spring!
The dilemma this year is in deciding whether to clean the old leaves out of the beds or leave them there as a blanket for awhile, covering all this new growth. Do I trust Mother Nature to continue her warming trend, or do I rely on what the calendar tells me? West Kentucky is right on the edge of hot and cold and our weather seems to enjoy surprising us. I remember waking in mid April one recent year only to find blackened blooms everywhere, all destroyed by a killing frost. There's nothing worse than a fully blooming wisteria decorated with hanging black blooms; much like a Christmas tree with black ornaments.
I'd really like to have a mountain to climb this year. I'd look for all those weeds and make a meal of them again. But that isn't likely to happen anytime soon so I might as well enjoy today. I think the blooms got here before Spring did, seeing as how it's only the 18th of March. It makes me wonder if the iris will bloom early too, maybe the tulips, and if that happens, can daylilies be far behind?
I can't help but wonder what Aunt Bett would be saying if she were here right now. No doubt she'd wake me and whisper again, "Spring, it sure comes right early this year."
And no doubt we'd have spring greens and hot buttered cornbread and iced sweet tea for dinner one more time.