Everybody’s Dancing! It’s Springtime…

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The Tulip Poplar in my garden.

It’s spitting spring in Memphis! It does this every year. It doesn’t come in full force. It spits a nice day here and there, teases you with sunshine and then demoralizes you with rain and cold. The last two days have been rainy and cold. I even had on my parka and a hat while I walked my dog this morning. Ugh…Monday, however, was fabulous. This weekend….70s and sunny all the way through. You can bet my butt will be on a trail somewhere this weekend. If I don’t get a dose of the woods, it’ll be a huge loss.

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The Bradford Pear trees on my street.

My hometown in Louisiana had a very short spring. I don’t remember the seasons being very distinct except for summer. Summer was pretty distinct. It was all year except for a short break Jan – Feb. I exaggerate a little…but just a little. At Christmas when I was in Baton Rouge, I wore shorts, and that is not uncommon at all. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I lived in Michigan, winter was all year except for a short break June – Aug. We always joked that summer was really nice…both days. And, I can tell you this, they don’t know summer. I had forgotten what hot was all about until I moved back down South. In Seattle, there was a weird spectrum of seasons. There was the rainy season which was from Nov.1 – exactly – through June. It would be 42 during the day and 40 at night and rainy…..everyday. Spring and a really light summer started in July. It was beautiful until October 30 – exactly. I didn’t even have air conditioning. I didn’t need it. My parents came for a visit, and there is a picture of us watching the Fourth of July fireworks in coats under blankets. My Louisiana friends will never experience that…I can guarantee it.

My favorite place in the country is in Tennessee. I think it has the best weather. My Tennessee friends will laugh because natives think it’s horrible. We have every season. And we don’t have any one for too long. It does get too hot for me in July and August, but all I have to do is remember my Louisiana childhood with no air conditioning, and I become very grateful again. A friend of mine and I were joking today about going to hell. I wondered if it would be hotter than Louisiana. He said no, it wouldn’t be that hot. So, I feel pretty happy about being in the middle of the country again. It’s hot for a bit but not like Louisiana nor for nearly as long.

Last week, the flowers started blooming on the trees. I have a tulip poplar in my backyard that is fabulous. The couple that lived here before used to have pink daiquiri parties when the tree was in full bloom. It looks like it’s snowing pink petals. The Bradford Pear trees out front are blooming like crazy, and the azaleas are sure to come in soon. My yard is full of them. I got them trimmed back this year because they were in trouble, so I won’t have as many blooms, but I can still enjoy the neighbors’.

My boss told me at work the other day that a bird woke him up chirping at his window. He joked that he wanted to shoot it. It wouldn’t stop. That’s always a sure sign of spring…randy animals. Everybody’s mating. I can even tell that the Match guys get more active and plentiful during the spring. The winter’s over…there’s stuff to do….energy’s up…let’s go find somebody to love – man or beast.

One of the most interesting mating rituals I’ve ever seen (other than humans at a nightclub) is the Woodcock mating ritual. I belonged to the Tennessee Ornithological Society when I lived in Knoxville, and they took us on a field trip one night to watch the mating dance of this crazy bird. We went out to this field and waited until dusk. All of a sudden, you could hear them all over. Peent…..peent….peent. After awhile, the woodcock dance started. It was quite a sight to see. The male woodcock would fly up into the air — about 250 – 300 ft – in an ever-widening spiral. When it reached the top, it would hover for a second and then zigzag down. Its wings were open, so you could hear the whistling sound as the air went through its wings. It would land in front of the female and do a little dance. The below video shows the sky part of the dance.

And this video shows the final part of the dance. I think it’s kind of sexy! I’d go for it. But, then again, maybe it’s just the effect spring has on me. 🙂

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