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After weeks of wretched weather – rainy, cold, rainy,
humid, rainy, foggy, did I mention rainy? – the weather
seems a little better. And best of all, I’ve been seeing real
signs of spring recently.
One of the best indicators of the change in seasons
was sighting a robin in Houston a week ago. This was
a genuine thrill, since I haven’t seen many robins in the
last few years. I remember when I could look out into my
backyard on a sunny spring day and see them everywhere.
Robins are really beautiful with their bright orange
chests and quirky attitudes. But where are they now
and why don’t we see them much anymore? Luckily I
saw one up in Houston, near Rice University. He was
a good-sized bird, and he cocked his head at me as he
searched energetically for a snack. It was a great omen
for the spring season.
I’ve also noticed more and more trees showing tiny leaf
buds. They’re difficult to see close up but from a distance
these trees have a beautiful light green haze around
them. Spring green, I think it’s called. What a great color
and a mood lifter on a dreary day.
But the very best sign of the impending season is in
my flower beds. Those freezing days we had this winter
really hit them hard, turning them into sad brown clumps.
Even plants that I think of as hardy proved otherwise.
Although I know to leave them alone until they start
showing new growth, this time my perennials looked like
they were well and truly dead.
But just a couple of days ago I noticed little baby fern
fronds struggling their way through the ugly frozen tundra
surrounding them. I felt like Dr. Frankenstein when his
creature, zapped by electricity, comes to life at last. “It’s
ALIVE!” And that’s what I felt like
shrieking, when I also discovered
fresh shoots of spider plant as
well. ( I don’t recommend actually
doing this, however – I suspect it
makes the neighbors nervous.)
I haven’t worked up the courage
yet to check out the cannas in the
backyard. They really got hit hard.
But I’ve always suspected cannas
are like zombies – they can’t be
killed! You can chop them back or
run over them with a lawn mower.
A few days later they’ll be back,
bigger and healthier than ever.
They remind me of Audrey 2, the
giant Venus Flytrap plant in “Little
Shop Of Horrors.” (If you haven’t
seen the musical version of this
very funny film, you definitely need
to watch it.)
While spring is not yet officially
here, it’s just around the corner.
We’ll just have to be patient for a
few more weeks. Which is exactly
what the groundhog predicted
on February 2, when he saw his
shadow and panicked. He said
we’d have six more weeks of winter.
on’t you wish our local weather
forecasters were that accurate?

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