Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

At last, spring comes to the Heartland



April is the show-and-tell month for those of us who live in the Heartland.

The message is clear if we take the time to pay attention.

The greening lawns, the sunshine, the daffodils and the tulips show us that, by golly, it finally is spring and Mother Nature promises more good things when we turn the calendar to the next page. The birds in many colors are in grand harmony, telling a song of springtime. They are as happy as we are that the long winter is past and that their clocks were right on time for the long flight back north. Nature s rebirth in April is truly amazing and beautiful to watch.

We put value on living where each of the four seasons has distinct personality. In April I always say that spring is the best. But fall, about mid-September, when nature s drama changes to different colors and sounds that, too, is pretty wonderful.

This April seems to have produced more soul-searching than usual. Perhaps it is because I was away from home longer than usual and, like other snowbirds, kept close track of Michigan and Ohio weather reports. It could be because my home will probably sell this spring or summer, and the challenge of lawn and gardens will come to an end.

But then isn t it possible that headlines in recent weeks make us more mindful of the beauty around us that may unconsciously inspire new appreciation?

The slow death of Terri Schiavo was heart-wrenching and brought memories of our own friends and families who have suffered terminal illness.

Then came the grave illness and death of Pope John Paul II that was felt deeply by people of all faiths. His words, Be not afraid, are truly for all Americans to live by. Within days, Prince Rainier s death reminded those of us who remember his marriage to Grace Kelly that real-life fairy tales do have sad endings. For fans of the late Princess Diana, the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla may have provoked more unhappy thoughts than joy for the newlyweds, because it reminded them of Diana s death. But now, as I survey the emerald green lawn and the lake glistening with welcome sunshine, it does seem that all is well and that spring has magnificent healing powers.

When I returned home on March 31 there was still ice on Posey Lake, and I immediately thought that I had returned too soon from the South. But suddenly, just when I wasn t watching, the ice disappeared. Someone who was paying attention buzzed by in a boat as if to signal a new season of lake activities. It was probably the same eager beaver neighbor who revved up the lawn mower the same day as a reminder that spring s rebirth is not without work.

Believe me, I have awakened to many springs in the Heartland and have always been fascinated by the miracles of nature changing cold to warmth and brown to green. But this April seems to be warmer and greener. I have more faith that the hostas will come back to life and that the roses will bloom again.

The birds were so vocal I placed their houses in the trees earlier than usual to be sure they would have comfortable nests for eggs and babies. Purple pansies have been planted in grandma s wicker planter on the purple sun porch. Remember the maple tree that grew from one seed that fell through a hole in a pot into the ground? It survived another winter against the garage wall, through extreme adverse conditions. Amazing.

Last Sunday, when I drove into town to order geraniums and other annuals, I accidentally came face to face with an endearing example of springtime show-and-tell. Going to town is an accurate term for the 12-mile trip to Adrian.

On a drive around the old hometown, a lemonade and cookie stand in an Adrian neighborhood was a sure sign of spring and summer. I asked the 9-year-old entrepreneur, Allie, if she had decided to go into business because there was a real estate open-house next door.

No, it is such a nice, pretty day I just decided to, she said. I ll drink lemonade to that.

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