You do not need a calendar to realize that spring has arrived. Step outdoors, open your eyes and ears and the evidence is overwhelming. Trees are now sporting their best green attire, bluebonnets are in full bloom, clover has clawed its way to the surface along with the dandelions. The air is a flurry of activity while birds fly to and from their nesting sites erecting nest of various description. Doves are singing their mournful song, and grackles are heard everywhere. Bees are buzzing as they gather nectar while crawling down the golden throat of the Esperanza.
The Esperanza is often mistaken for a tropical plant, but it is a North American native. It thrives in moderate southern climates and tolerates drought very well. In recent years, it has grown in popularity due in part to its drought tolerance, but its gaudy yellow bloom is the reason it is turning up in gardens and landscapes throughout the south. The two inch trumpet shaped blooms signal spring, but to everyone’s delight they continue to bloom uncontrollably through the fall.
If you somehow miss the silent signaling of the Esperanza that spring has arrived, then surely you have heard the sounds of the Great-tailed Grackle. The grackle makes an impressive array of sounds, but unfortunately not all are musical and not all are sweet tinkling notes. Some sounds are mechanical and irritating like a squeaking door hinge, and others are so loud they are best heard at a great distance. Male grackles make an irritating clacking sound when humans are near, and female grackles are known to follow humans around making an annoying chattering sound when they have young grackles in their nest. There is a legend that grackles came into the world mute and stole their seven sounds from a wise and knowing sea turtle, and what we actually hear as grackle vocalization are the seven passions of life (Love, Hate, Fear, Courage, Joy, Sadness and Anger). While some may not agree on the truth of the legend, all will surely agree that grackles are loud.
If the sound of grackles has not alerted you to spring, then surely the thundering sound of the Blue Angels blasting holes in the sky got your attention. Flying low over the Flour Bluff peninsula, rolling, looping then soaring out of sight they signaled the arrival of spring in a way that cannot be duplicated in nature. Flying at speeds up to 700 miles per hour their jet aircraft often fly as close as eighteen inches apart. The Blue Angels are best known for their iconic diamond formation and the missing man formation, but regardless of the formation, the Blue Angels arrival marks the changing of seasons in a way not to be outdone.
It is often said of spring that it is a time for new beginnings, rebirth, revitalization, regeneration, or as I like to think of it. It is a time for nature’s do-over, but perhaps Sitting Bull said it best. “Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.”
Until next time…