The first daffodils of Spring. Buttery yellow rays of sunshine bobbing on the end of emerald green stems. Migrating robins and daffodils are the promise of spring brought to life against a backdrop of lawn more closely resembling straw than grass.
Growing up in south Texas, I didn't have an inkling about the power of spring, that sudden burst of color against a grayscape. What it does to your pulse, your step, your mind. How it lures the sleeping bear from the cave, lumbering out into the light squinting and lifting its nose to catch the scent of green coming from the thawing loam, all mush and squish underfoot.
I didn't understand the purpose of March winds, how it sways branches and bends tree trunks, waking the sleeping sap from underground. Sap that will feed tender buds and shoots, leaves and new branches reaching higher in the sky.
"Spring Cleaning" or "Spring Fever" were hollow phrases until I lived through four winters, real winters with ice and snow and temperatures in the single digits.
Spring in South Texas means azaleas and redbuds, volunteer paperwhites on vacant lots where old homesteads once existed. It means fields of wildflowers, bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, winecups, buttercups, Texas evening primrose and it's all lovely. But...when it's green year round and your eyes, mind and body never lie fallow, those welcomed blossoms don't quite break the fast the way daffodils do in February.
As hard as it's been for me to adjust to living in a colder climate, I'm grateful for the lessons it's taught me. And equally grateful that this very morning, the yard is filled with robins and daffodils smiling and waving at me from the edge of the woods.