The song birds have arrived in the mountains!
I know the lower elevations have long since donned their coats of veridis to welcome the onset of renovamen,but high in these peaks the arboreal blossoms have only begun to open. And I celebrate the arrival of their new deciduous growth.
Springtime in the Smoky Mountains is a glorious season of renewal and rejuvenation for both the native flora and fauna. I greet this annual metamorphosis with excited anticipation. The frigid winter has at last loosed its grasp on my beloved gloriosa ipsum and I will cherish the proximate opportunity to open the long sealed windows and doors and refresh the stale and spent atmosphere that pervades my home and office.
My predawn, alfresco coffee was accompanied not only by the serenade of the ever-punctual roosters, lowing cattle and the eerie fog-horn bray of my neighbor's mule, but this morning the air was filled with sweet harmonic melodies from a newly arrived avian chorus seated on the hillside amphitheater enveloping the north side of my vista. The glitter of the bespeckled bluffs across the valley did not hold my attention as dawn broke the Carolina sky, instead it was a winter's requiem and the overture of the anticipated spring that lifted my spirits past the heavy lethargy of my abbreviated slumbers and jump-started the electric spark within my synapses. As the haze of sleep lifted, my mind began stringing words and phrases together. I felt a compulsion to find some way paint these new hues of green with words and share my delight at their awaited emergence. From the crest of the highest ridges to the floor of every hollow, the trees reach their tiny fingers of soft pea-green, subtle olive and vibrant emerald toward the warming sun. This is the annual debut of new life atop this forest of hemlocks, walnuts, oaks, poplar and maples. I must find those words.
Spring has sprung and it is wondrous. The squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, groundhogs and turkeys have all brought their new scions out to explore the world and learn the perilous rules of survival. I am sure the bears, elk and deer have done the same, but I am not a witness to the results of their mating. This is a time and place everyone should experience. I want to find those magic words that could have you taste the crisp clean morning air of the Smokys; to enable you to hear the newest movement of Nature's ever-evolving symphony; to see this changing that literally evolves minute by minute. This miracle is region-wide; I live deep in the woods and high on a mountain, but I can still see down below o'er the top of the still emerging canopy, where the yards and lawns are cultivated with the best of civilized intentions and neighborly competitive skills. There, the ornamental pear trees and dogwoods are proudly holding their noble white heads high above the new blooms of crocus, tulips and daffodils in beds carefully delineated by the razor edges of manicured fescue. Spring has sprung in the Smoky Mountains and it is indeed wondrous.
I am not certain, but I am willing to gamble that these mountains have suffered their last killing frost of the year, so it is time that I, too, venture down the winding switch-back and up the busy four-lane into town. There I will select this year's variety of vegetables for my garden to will nourish my body and adorn my table throughout the warmer months. My spring chores will not end there: The dining area on the rear deck must be scrubbed and the grill de-winterized. I must energize the outlets for my computer and fan in the outdoor office. My hoses can be brought out of the safety of warmth and shelter; my hummingbird feeders need filled, herbs potted and the butterfly garden must be fertilized, pruned and weeded. Yes, spring has arrived at last even in these mountains.
O vere gloriosum, oh, glorious spring; et ego recipiam vos, I welcome you!
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