Early spring drive.

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I needed a day to unwind and de-stress, so I decided to take my new car out for a spin, because it was such a gorgeous spring day, and this is my favorite time of year.

Has anyone noticed the colors on the some of the trees in spring are the exact same colors you see in the fall?   The reason for that is the chlorophyll, the substance which turns the leaves green so they can make their own food from sunlight, hasn’t kicked in yet.  In the fall, the leaves stop making chlorophyll when they no longer need to make their own food.   The photo above and immediately below show the fall-like colors.

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Is it early spring or late fall? It’s hard to tell here.

I drove all the way to Sunburst, a beautiful spot near Lake Logan which has a campground, a swimming hole, and a fast moving stream.    In the summer, this is a great place to cool off (the water in the swimming hole is crystal clear with a slight greenish tint, surprisingly deep, and cold)  but right now, it’s fishing season.   I didn’t fish, but I sat on one of the big boulders and just took in the sights and sounds, and let the stress leave my body and mind.

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Fishing in Sunburst, NC

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Sunburst Swimming Hole

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Spring in January?

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I adore spring (it’s my favorite season), but the temperatures all along the East Coast have been unseasonably warm for at least a week (like , 60 – 70 degrees every day) — and there is no sign that it’s going to get colder any time soon — even though the forecasters are promising winter isn’t done with us yet.  Apparently, it’s warmer in New York than it is in Florida — at least according to this map.  Now, that’s weird.

What concerns me is that the trees here are looking a little “pregnant” — that is, they’re starting to get that sort of full look, with a muted reddish tint, that trees always get in the late winter just before they start to bloom.   Usually that doesn’t happen until March in this region, or sometimes as early as late February.  But mid-January?  That’s not normal.

The grass is also starting to look like it needs a mow.

I also saw a bee buzzing around.  And the birds were singing as if it was May.

I think I recall in 2007, the same thing happened.   Shortly after Christmas it got warm and stayed warm for two weeks — and the rose bushes outside started to bloom.  So did some of the early-blooming shrubs.  But it got cold again, and by the time real spring rolled around, the shrubs decided once was enough: they weren’t going to put on their flamboyant show of color again.   So they just went from bare to green.

If it stays warm, then, well, maybe global warming is true after all (and now we have a President who thinks it’s a myth started by the Chinese) and we can start to plant palm trees here on the East Coast.   Hey, I hear they plant them on the Jersey Shore now!  They’d probably have an even better chance here in the South.

But if it gets cold again, which most likely it will, then I’m afraid we’ll be in for another barren, bloomless spring, like we had in 2007.

Spring, you know I love you, but please be patient!   It’s too early.

The progression of spring: April 12th

I went a little crazy with my camera today. Flowers galore and so much color everywhere! The dogwoods are blooming, and most trees are becoming green now. A few trees are showing autumn colors before their chlorophyll kicks in.

It’s also my daughter’s 22nd birthday today. Okay, I know that’s off topic, but I had to say it. 🙂
I remember her psychiatrists and counselors used to say she would be lucky to make it to age 19. Well, she’s still here!

Enjoy this week’s photos. You can click them on to see more detail.

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Previous posts in this series:
1. Winter into Spring: March 8th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/08/winter-into-spring/
The Progression of Spring:
2. March 15th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/15/the-progression-of-spring-march-15th/
3. March 22nd: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/22/the-progression-of-spring-march-22/
4. March 29th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/30/the-progression-of-spring-march-29/
5. April 5th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/04/05/progression-of-spring-april-5th/

The progression of spring: April 5th

Now it’s REALLY starting to look like spring, as these photos show. Even so, the temps got slightly below freezing last night and I had to bring my plants inside. This early, snow is still possible, but not probable, at least not this far south. Many of the ornamental trees that were flowering last week are now bright pale green. The larger trees are just starting to bud, and some are still bare, especially at higher elevations. Living in the mountains, it’s fun to watch Spring progress up the mountainsides. By the end of this month, there should be no more winter-bare trees.

I feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the country so close to nature.

Enjoy this week’s photos.

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Previous articles in this series:
1. Winter Into Spring: March 8th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/08/winter-into-spring/
2. The Progression of Spring: March 15: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/15/the-progression-of-spring-march-15th/
3. The Progression of Spring: March 22: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/22/the-progression-of-spring-march-22/
4. The Progression of Spring: March 29: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/30/the-progression-of-spring-march-29/

The progression of Spring: March 29

This week many of the smaller ornamental trees began to bloom. The white “snowball” trees with their bright white blossoms by today were already dropping their petals and giving way to the pale bright green underneath. The cherry blossoms are in full flower and those too are giving way to green leaves. Most of the larger trees are still bare though and only showing hints of color. Those will probably start blooming next month. The grass in my yard could definitely use a mow. It’s getting pretty tall!

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Here’s the same scene from earlier weeks, taken in my neighborhood:
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See also:
1. Winter Into Spring: March 8th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/08/winter-into-spring/
2. The Progression of Spring: March 15: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/15/the-progression-of-spring-march-15th/
3. The Progression of Spring: March 22: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/22/the-progression-of-spring-march-22/

The progression of Spring: March 22

Last Sunday I decided to make this a weekly series until it looks like summer again. This is the third post in this series, and this is the week that all of nature seems to be going crazy! There are so many birds chirping and calling I feel like I live in a jungle. Unfortunately, the photos can’t capture the aural delights, only the flowers and trees.

As with the first two posts, these photos were taken around my neighborhood about an hour ago. A week ago none of these trees were flowering yet, although they definitely looked about to.

The weather’s a little on the cool side and somewhat overcast, so not a great day to sit outside but I’ve heard cloudy weather is the best for taking photos because of there is less contrast or chance for overexposure.

Enjoy!

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Here are my two previous posts:

March 8th: Winter Into Spring: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/08/winter-into-spring/
March 15th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/15/the-progression-of-spring-march-15th/

Things sure have changed in two weeks. 🙂

March madness.

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March is a weird month.
Yesterday was sunny, extremely windy, and in the low 70s.
On Sunday, temps climbed into the low 80s.
Today was like late November, cold and rainy, temps in the low 40s.
This weekend is supposed to be pretty, but then they are talking about SNOW after that.
Tornado season starts about now, too. Fortunately i don’t live in a Tornado Alley state.

Welcome, Spring!

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The progression of spring: March 15th

I love watching everything come back to life starting around this time of year. I’ve never appreciated these changes so much until this year, however.

Because last Sunday (March 8th) I decided to post a few photos of some trees in my neighborhood that were starting to show the “fall” colors of early spring in their buds and branches before the chlorophyll kicks in (see my post “Winter Into Spring”), I decided to make “The Progression of Spring” a regular weekly feature until things look like summer again, probably around the end of May.

The first photo shows the exact same location as last week but there are a few changes: the grass is a LOT greener than last week (this happened almost overnight), and the trees look fuller and a few are beginning to bloom. The second photo was taken right by my house.

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Both these photos make it hard to believe it’s technically still winter.

Winter into Spring

I love very late winter, because it’s when suddenly nature returns from the dead and gloom of that season. Even though the trees are still pretty bare and it’s still pretty cold, the lengthening and slightly warmer days have cause the buds to begin to open, showing their true (fall) colors before the chlorophyll starts kicking in.

I snapped these photos this morning in my neighborhood, after church. If you look closely, some of the trees have a yellowish tint and others, a reddish one. It really doesn’t look much like winter anymore. Birds were chirping everywhere and I heard children playing outdoors in the distance.

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Experiencing this simple moment was the perfect gift just after having attended mass during the third week of Lent. Late winter/spring and the Easter season is all about resurrection and rebirth.

I decided to post the Youtube link to George Winston’s piano music, “Winter into Spring” here. It’s the whole album. Listen to it while sitting outside or appreciating the rapid changes nature is undergoing even if only from your window. No matter how poor, sick or beaten down by life we are, we are all blessed to have these gifts that cost nothing.

It’s March!

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By the end of this month, some places will look like this.

I cannot believe we’re already into the third month of 2015. Where did the winter go? It can’t go away too fast for me!

March is a special month. Once it arrives, I start to realize the season of darkness, ice, cold, flu, and high heating bills is finally in its death throes. Sure, March is still cold in most of the non-tropical northern hemisphere. There can still be snowstorms and some of the worst blizzards in history have happened in March. It’s not quite time to put away the winter coats and gloves and take off the snow tires yet.

But in March, the snow that falls tends to melt faster, the days are getting noticeably longer (don’t forget to set your clocks AHEAD next Sunday!), and by mid-month, at least in my part of the country, the weather gets a bit warmer too.

The first thunderstorms of the year arrive, and people living in Tornado Alley must be wary of severe weather again. I happen to love big storms and like to sit outside on my covered porch and watch them roll in.

On some days and nights, you may even be able to keep the heat turned off, which lowers your heating bill.

In many southern and mid-Atlantic states, some trees begin to show a hazy pale greenish tint by the end of the month. Other trees take on a diluted version of the same colors you see on them in the fall, before their chlorophyll kicks in. (Has anyone ever noticed this? I never did until a few years ago). The forsythias and first crocuses and other early-spring flowers begin to bloom. You may see a robin or two in your backyard. Although most trees are still bare, many are sporting fat buds on their branches.

March is the month the intrepid (some might say insane) hikers who decide to take on all 2,168 miles of the Appalachian trail begin their trek in Georgia (and won’t complete their journey until late August or September, when they arrive in Maine just as it starts to turn colder). Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is actually on my Bucket List of things to do before I die. I’m crazy enough to do it if I can ever afford to take off the six months it requires to just drop out of modernity and normal life (which would not be a problem for me at all!)

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Very early spring along the Appalachian Trail.

If you live in a rural area you start to notice fields being tilled in preparation for sowing the year’s crops.

Easter stuff is being sold everywhere. Hell, it’s been out there in the stores since February 15th! Garden centers start stocking up again.

By the end of this month, if it gets at all warm, I will probably need to uncover the lawnmower and push that creaky old rusted machine through the grass for the first time this year.

I love this time of year, because of the way it represents the promise of new life and another cycle of nature at its very beginning. The world is like a person stirring in light sleep just before waking up to start a new day.

In just three weeks, it will be officially Spring, even if we still need to keep our coats and sweaters handy for a few more weeks.

I think March is underrated. Everyone gets so excited about the coming of Fall, but as beautiful as that time of year is, I have always found it a bit depressing. Everything is dying and the days are getting colder and shorter. This time of year, while the weather is still not ideal and there’s no big holiday season to look forward to (outside of Easter), the mood of lengthening days and stronger and warmer sunlight nurtures my spirit.

If you love spring, you will love this book I read several years ago called “Chasing Spring: An American Journey through a Changing Season,” which describes a road trip that follows the progress of the season starting in the deep South as early as late February and progressing northward until the middle of June, when spring weather finally arrives in northern Canada.