In previous posts, I have identified autumn as my favorite time of the year. I associate this with my upbringing in the Midwest, when the muggy hot days of summer were finally interrupted by crisp evenings, leaves turning bright colors, and light jackets. Though not my favorite season, while living in Roanoke I have grown to appreciate spring.
As a resident of Texas, I observed the difference between summer and autumn had more to do with the amount of light in a day than any change in temperature or leaf colors. However, in the spring I looked forward to the abundance of wildflowers that dotted the landscape—fields of blue bonnets with bright red Indian paintbrush interspersed, and the occasional pop of color associated with the various other wildflowers that bloomed.
A New Appreciation
Similarly, here in Roanoke I have come to anticipate the arrival of spring and its flowering dogwoods and redbuds—familiar sights to this Midwesterner, preceded by daffodils, tulips, and azaleas. Soon, these will be followed by rhododendrons and a plethora of other blooming flowers, shrubs and trees. Spring in the Blue Ridge is, if nothing else, colorful.
One of my recent sunrise hikes was in a thick fog after one of our many spring rains and featured deer, woodpeckers, a hawk, and more squirrels and chipmunks than could be counted. The forest was indeed waking from its winter slumber. Along my journey, I encountered a coyote and, as I got closer, it began to bark warnings—no doubt alerting me to a nearby den. I gave it a wide berth and continued on my way.
A Welcome Change
As I walk around my neighborhood and in downtown, there are noticeably more people out and about— especially so, as more people receive their vaccination against the COVID virus. All are enjoying the warm air, slight breeze, and bright sunshine. The walks are made all the more enjoyable by the dedicated work of our grounds crews from Parks and Recreation and Facilities, who ensure the flower beds are mulched, the fountains cleaned, and the trees pruned.
We are indeed blessed to live in such a place as Roanoke where spring is so vibrant and welcoming. It may not be my favorite season, but it is really difficult not to enjoy all the beauty that surrounds us and the renewed activities—by people, nature, and animals alike. Enjoy it, we know all too well that before long those hot days of summer will be upon us, not that those too aren’t enjoyable!
— Bob Cowell