The calendar says spring has arrived, even though last week Blount County was under a freeze warning for two days. It is not unusual for spring in Alabama to begin with fits and starts. It is winter clawing to hang on a bit longer, but spring will prevail.
Farmers and gardeners are already turning the soil. Fruit trees have blossomed and hardwoods are reloading with an arsenal of leaves they will fire at me again next fall. All are signs that spring will prevail.
The birds of spring, those migrating to and through Alabama to their summer homes, will be filling the sky. I have my eye out for the hummingbirds that frequent our home. Experts say by the time the hummingbirds do arrive, wrens will be working on their nests. Hummingbirds will be nesting by mid-April, as will cardinals, mockingbirds, and other breeding birds. They will continue to proliferate and preserve their species. Like spring, they will prevail.
The many species of beautiful butterflies that come here for the warmer months or pass through heading north, will be fliting about in our pastures and yards soon. I have seen one already. Yes, spring will prevail.
Spring also carries some bad with the good. It is the beginning of tornado season, and this county has already experienced its first assault. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but plenty of property damage. While those ill winds brought destruction, they also put the spirit of the folks who live here on display. Most of the people who showed up in Allgood and elsewhere to help clean up the debris did not live in the paths of the storms. They were family, friends, and strangers who volunteered. On the morning after two tornadoes ripped through the county, more than 50 people showed up to lend a hand and a chainsaw. Their spirit prevailed.
Another negative that spring brings is yellow dust that covers everything. Sneezing, runny noses, and watery eyes are just a few of the symptoms endured by those affected by pollen, and no amount of volunteerism can relieve their suffering. Even here, there is good; the release of pollen is nature’s way for the male plants to fertilize the female.
The surest sign that spring is here, though, is baseball. On fields all over the country we hear the sounds of the game. The thump as a catcher’s mitt receives the ball or the crack of a bat squarely meeting a ball are music to the ears of many.
The start of baseball season is synonymous with spring. They both are about potential. All teams start out 0-0. Hope is alive for a good season. With every pitch, comes the opportunity to do good, to excel, to be better than the year before. Even if they do not succeed, they hopefully did their best. Chicago Cubs fans know about that. The Cubs suffered a 108-year drought after winning a world series in 1908. Their next one came in 2017. In the intervening years, at the beginning of the season fans shouted, “This is our year!” By the end, they cried, “Wait ‘til next year!” They always started with potential and hope, but came up short. Still they endured and eventually prevailed.
We humans are like the Cubs. We start every endeavor with hope and potential. We hope to be the best we can be. We think we possess the knowledge, ability, and compassion to make it so, but we sometimes let ourselves down. The difference between us and the flowers, birds, and baseball teams is that when we fail, we do not have to say, “Wait ‘til next year.” People have a super power in that we can create our own spring. We always possess the potential to be a better person, to treat others nicer, to forgive more easily, and to help our family, friends, and community. At any given moment we can shout, “This is our year!”