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An exceptional spring

Judith Victoria Hensley

The seasons of the earth come and go in their unique ways. I can’t imagine living anywhere that has less than four distinct seasons. There is such beauty in each one! I can’t imagine living anywhere outside the mountains of this region where each season brings such visual blessing. Fall is usually my favorite. However this year’s spring has seemed to me one of the most beautiful I ever recall.

Perhaps added to the beauty this year is the time I’ve taken to observe the unfolding of spring in COVID-19 isolation through my camera lens. I’ve taken several rides just to get out and look at the beauty around me as the region comes back to life.

The white sarvis tree buds were the first call to me that spring was on the way, although they bloomed earlier than usual. Redbud winter and dogwood winter unfurled an extravagance of blossoms thick on tree branches. Between these banner natural events, I’ve also been looking closely at the woodland carpets of life, roadside blossoms, and planted flowers in people’s yards. It seems there has been a profusion of color and delight for the eyes many weeks now. 

In the past week alone I’ve seen blue fields of flowers, yellow acres of buttercups, and patches of many shades of purple and lavender in the undergrowth of the woods and beside roadways. White and red trillium are always a joy to find, and I’ve stumbled onto acres of the lovely plants growing on mountainsides while driving the backroads. I don’t know the names of each species, but that has not hindered my pleasure in viewing them.

I took time to photograph each new flowering plant I found but have had great difficulty in identifying them. If not for the importance of social distancing, I would have loved to take an elderly and knowledgeable person with me to tell me the common names of each discovery. Even the internet has not been helpful in identifying the unknown beauties I’ve photographed.

Spring is a season of hope as the daylight hours grow longer. We all could possibly benefit from some fresh air, sunshine, and spring plants. A walk in the woods, a drive on a backroad, or a stroll through the park this spring has been almost magical as the earth awakens and decrees that life is returning after the gloomy winter.

Many are speaking of symptoms from being at home with their regular social routine disrupted. Depression is a concern for many older people or single people who feel they’ve spent an excess amount of time “sheltering in place.” My dad is 88 and my mother 86. They still live independently at home but are certainly missing their normal days out of the house when I or my brother take them shopping at retail stories, groceries, or doctors’ appointments. I can sense the unusual heaviness of spirit they are experiencing because they can’t follow their expected routine.

My brother Mark and I have made a point to get them out of the house and drive in the sunshine. Sometimes we all go together and sometimes we take them separately and devote a day to doing whatever we think will make them happy. I’ve taken them on picnics, even if we have to eat in the car but have fresh air and beautiful views all around. Sometimes we go for a ride half an hour away to town only to get an ice cream and back home.

The effort of getting out of the house and letting this gorgeous spring wash over our weary spirits is good medicine. I believe God deliberately placed unexpected beauty and diversity in the earth because He delights in creating beauty. His touch is all around us in every season, but this year with the worldwide pandemic causing worry and anxiety for so many people, I’m very thankful for the joy of watching an exceptional spring unfold. Just as this season is moving toward the next one, we can rest assured that whatever season the world may be in, it will always transition to the next one.