I am hard put to be worth any count at all this time of year. Springtime in Lower Alabama is a sight to behold. Y’all can have all the baubles and moon pies left over from countless Mardi Gras parades. Those gaudy beads are downright dunny compared to the jeweled display of flora if you just set foot out of doors.
These are the days I fall in love with Moore’s Creek Farm all over again. The pastures are growing emerald grass so fast I can almost see it. Our cows race to keep up, each blade such a delight that they low with satisfaction. The fig tree is leafing in tender profusion, a neon highlight against the fresh green of the pasture. And the azaleas. O, the azaleas!
Technicolor pink, fuchsia, and blushing lilac…the azaleas are in their full glory. But it’s the alabaster azaleas that have my heart. The white blossoms have a blue undertone, like fine marble. They sway gracefully in the breeze, looking for all the world like antebellum brides mid-waltz. Prayers of thanksgiving well up from my soul. Beauty this rich is a blessing indeed.
Azaleas, to me, represent the fresh-faced innocence of youth. Gardenias come a little later on, when the heat of the summer warms the blood. They are showy and heavily perfumed; beautiful in their own right, and lusty in their allure. Then, the fine ladies will appear. Magnolia blossoms, complex and sheathed in emerald and bronze, will reign supreme in their confident strength.
As brilliant as the azaleas are in their hues, the citrus trees offer an equally brilliant sensation. While their blossoms may be tiny, their scent is delightful. As I walk about our citrus grove, the lemon and grapefruit trees bathe my lungs with their sweet, delicate aroma. Smells and memory intertwine. The lemon blooms remind me of honeysuckle and mimosa, the two floral scents I most distinctly associate with childhood.
Like I said, it’s easy to get lost in the glory of springtime in Lower Alabama. If you’re from around here, turn off that TV and get yourself outside. It’ll warm your soul. If you’re not, come on down before the humidity sets in and treat yourself to the most beautiful time of year.