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Saturday, June 8, 2013
There is a hopeful Tom Waits song entitled “You Can Never Hold Back Spring.” Until recently, I was disputing that notion but, sure enough, spring finally did show itself for one day on May 28. Now it is summer, or at least seems like it. So much for the legendary Virginia spring season I have relentlessly promoted to my brother in order to encourage him to visit me here. Being from California, he is only familiar with two seasons: warm and not as warm.
But at least one day of spring is better than none. In Vermont, spring is only a calendar designation. When I was living there I realized the seasons consist of two weeks of leaf peeping (fall), early winter, winter, late winter, mud and maybe several weeks of summer. Vermont gardening establishments begin their end-of-season closeout promotions on July 31, prepping for the inevitable mid-August frosty mornings. I sure hope the global climate change phenomenon is not going to eliminate spring from Southwest Virginia.
In April, I noticed the birds and presumably the bees were getting a late start on their annual activities. The usual cacophony of activity from both species seemed abnormally absent during our wintry April except for the bird nest outside my office window, established last year by robins.
I knew they were robins because my wife told me so; otherwise, they would have been just birds to me. She knew because their eggs were blue. Go figure: Blue eggs beget red robins.
My office has a narrow, precarious window sill that the robins decided would be a perfect location to make a home for the family they were planning to have. I know little of birds’ mating habits, but establishing a homestead on a window sill?
I watched all this unfold last year. I witnessed the building of the nest, the birth of baby robins and their rapid growth to maturity. I felt as if I was in a National Geographic reality show. The nest must have been very well-built for it miraculously survived the past winter, intact.
Robins appear to be a socially responsible lot, as this year they have allowed birds of a different feather to use of the nest. I watched the first set of white eggs (therefore not robins) in the nest hatch babies, get fat and eventually fly the coop, as the saying goes. Now the nest has two more little white eggs sitting in it, presumably put there by the same pair of birds. This couple is on a mission.
There are benefits to having a late-arriving spring. One is the lack of weeds taking over my yard, except for the dandelions. Some do not view the dandelion as a weed, however. The late Ray Bradbury, in his classic work “Dandelion Wine,” used the dandelion as a metaphor for packing all the joys of summer into a single bottle of wine.
The downside of a late spring is that people you see around the neighborhood during nice weather might not be recognized after the long winter spent indoors. Such was the case when twice this past week I encountered a friend, the wife of a golfing buddy, not realizing it was her. Several days later, the same thing happened when I ran into her again at a Daleville Town Center music event. The first incident was humorous, but the second occurrence has me wishing Ken 2.2 gets released soon.
With summer finally upon us, the Daleville Town Center is becoming a favorite setting for gatherings. A popular band called The Tams was performing their vintage 1960s material at the event. I learned they were one of Jimmy Buffett’s favorite bands when he was a youngster. How times have changed! He has gone from “Margaritaville” to buying up local newspapers. Correction: My wife informs me this is a different Mr. Buffett.
But you really can never hold back spring. Birds and bees are doing what they do. June weddings are on the calendar. And proud parents, like me, attended graduations in May patiently listening for the name of a special person to be announced among the several thousand graduates receiving diplomas.
And my brother did finally acquiesce to my many years of hype about springtime in Virginia and showed up to participate in a golfing event with me. Fortunately, I was able to recognize him when he arrived at the airport.
Weather JournalStorm track isn't very snowy for us