My mom used to say this when spring arrived in south Georgia: “Spring has sprung. The grass has ris. I wonder where the flowers is.” I Googled this saying to see where it came from. According to several websites, it seems to be a variation of a ditty whose author is unknown, but it’s sometimes attributed to poets Ogden Nash or e e cummings.
I haven’t thought of this saying in years until recently when I noticed the dogwood tree in my mom’s front yard had exploded with flowers practically overnight. The camellias and some of the azaleas in her yard had already bloomed, but it wasn’t until I saw the dogwood blossoms that I felt like spring was truly here. Well, besides all that pine and oak pollen that covers everything in yellow this time of year.
Believe it or not, it does get cold here in south Georgia in the winter. It doesn’t last long, but even after having lived in Anchorage, Alaska, for thirteen years, I put on a sweater or a coat when the temps dipped into the low 30s or below this winter. It’s a damp cold, so it feels colder. This was my third winter here after moving back in 2012, and I think it was the coldest one yet. At least it wasn’t anywhere as harsh other parts of the U.S. suffered through. (It’s still snowing in some places).
Spring in south Georgia has always been my favorite time of year. When I was still living in Anchorage, I switched my visits home from Christmas to March so I could enjoy a real spring. Spring in Anchorage is really nasty. The snow is melting and mixing with all the sand that was put down on the streets during winter. It makes for a real dirty, slushy mess. I would see how long I could wait before I had my car washed. It would be so caked in dirt that you couldn’t tell it was white. When I started getting stared at or couldn’t take it any more, that’s when I’d take it to the car wash.
Flowers don’t usually pop out around Anchorage until about June, but when they come, there’s a profusion of them. I loved it! Especially the wildflowers. I’m a city girl, so I’d had very little exposure to wildflowers until I moved to Alaska.
Working as an archaeologist in Alaska gave me the chance to get acquainted with wildflowers. During my first and second archaeology field schools on St. Paul Island, Alaska, in the summers of 2000 and 2001, I was completely enamored with the wildflowers. I took a lot of photos of them and tried to learn their names. I couldn’t wait for our day off and jaunt around the island (providing it wasn’t raining sideways).
I took photos of wildflowers nearly every time I was out in the field over the next several years. I’ll never get enough of seeing them all during the summer.
I love wildflowers the best. Yes, flowering plants bought at a store are lovely, but there’s just something about flowers growing wild and with abandon that appeals to me the most. “Born to be wild…”