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The Sassy Sandpiper: Suddenly Spring!

By M.R. Wilson, TB Reporter

Life’s magic returns before your very eyes.

Spring arrived early, borne on the thunder, lightning, and wind of a most welcome midweek rain shower. The astronomical event of the Vernal Equinox doesn’t occur until March 20th at 6:29 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time. Don’t tell that to the white-petaled shamrock flower, the unfurling amaryllis, or the voraciously munching monarch butterfly caterpillar.

Of course, there are big obvious things like the Tampa Bay Rays beginning Spring Training in Port Charlotte and the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. The Florida State Fair is in full-swing, featuring its ginormous ferris wheel, the Midway Sky Eye. I wouldn’t get on that contraption for a million bucks. It’s not that I’m afraid of heights. I’m afraid of equipment malfunctions. Suppose someone forgot to tighten a nut and bolt somewhere? As a terrestrial creature, I’m more enthused about Sunken Gardens recently welcoming a new flock of flamingos.

Closer to home at Joe’s Creek Greenway Park, wood storks court and spark in the uppermost branches of the loftiest trees. In my own back yard, leaf-bud green of the oaks flecks an impossibly blue sky. A pileated woodpecker pair makes a racket playing hide-and-seek among the branches. Mourning doves coo and bob and gather nest twigs.

The moan of chainsaws distresses me, but I like to hear the neighbors hammering new projects. Tree house renovations take shape a few dwellings down. Next door a garden plot is turned up with the help of 3-year-old Arthur, whose energy and curiosity romp into my “yarden” and my heart. Children are the very essence of spring.

Flocks of robins chortle on high, organizing for their imminent flight home, and the twitterings and whisperings of the migratory warblers diminishes. They, too, are soon on the wing for their northern spring and summer habitats. See you in September, my pretties.

Easter lily bulbs rouse from their winter rest and send forth crowns of green. The white rose bush, loving the cool temperatures and recent rain, is covered with new buds and flowers. Purple morning glories surprise me. I’ll look for seed pods in a couple of weeks. Flaming orange honeysuckle “trumpets” peek through the vine’s feathery foliage.

Here on central Florida’s gulf coast, the vernal equinox is but a technicality. Spring lets go a green sigh in her own good time, the magic of life renewed breathes deeply and all the world rises up once more.

Columns | The Sassy Sandpiper | Seasons | Spring | Tampa Bay Reporter

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The Sassy Sandpiper: Suddenly Spring!
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The Sassy Sandpiper: Suddenly Spring!
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Life's magic returns before your very eyes.
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TB Reporter
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