Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mama's Favorite Season

All of my life, I have enjoyed spring, but I've never loved it the way Mama did. Perhaps it was growing up on a farm, watching crops go in, as well as watching nature wake up from winter hibernation. Maybe it was that she did not have allergies, not the way hubby and I do. Mama was not much of gardener, not until her empty nest years, which were cut short by cancer. She did have beautiful azaleas, planted in a circle around an oak tree that was over a hundred years old, and the driveway was defined by huge clumps of jonquils and thrift. In other spots, she had planted various roses, with hydrangeas and other staples of southern flower gardens.

The road where I live now was once one of the prettiest in our small southern town. Some of the woods have given way to mini-mansions on half acre lots, surrounded by some uber-ugly fencing, and other folks have pulled up older plants which no doubt suffered in recent droughts. Still there are enough dogwoods and azaleas to remind me that spring is a beautiful time of year.

Easter moves about the calendar according to some arcane rules that few people bother to learn. I do have clear memories of Mama teaching me about the legend associated with the unique dogwood blossom. Daddy always cut the grass the day before Easter, whether it needed it or not, just to "make it easier to find those eggs." Mama and Daddy made finding the eggs a simple, fun-filled event. However, if we had an egg hunt at the Dodd's, my older male cousins put eggs in all sorts of weird places, including the forks of high trees. Only the brave got all the eggs in Nanny Dodd's backyard.

One of my favorite photographs of Mama was made on her last Easter, bending her six-foot frame over to guide my daughter, not quite two years old, to find eggs, poorly hidden among those flowers in her front yard.

Ah, yes, spring has come to Georgia, with thunder, lightning, hail, and a river of yellow pollen running down the driveway. My neighbor has a glorious row of multicolored azaleas lining her driveway, and I have a large, native dogwood in bloom. Once again, it is mama's favorite season, and I love to take in all the natural beauty. Hubby, give me another Claratin, because I just can't stay inside.

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