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Rex Lewis Field (Cotton Was King i…): I just visited both New and Old Dime Box just to see the defunct cotton gin in New Dime Box. The gi…
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March Begins With Hints Of Spring

Monday 05 February 2018 at 5:57 pm.

This article by Ray Spitzenberger first appeared in IMAGES for March 1, 2018, East Bernard Express, East Bernard, Texas.

            Here we are one day into March, and, if we can believe Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow on February 2, we still have two more weeks of winter weather to go.  Before you worry about frosts before Easter, however, just consider what Bee Cave Bob’s predictions were.  Our own weather-forecasting armadillo, who emerged from his burrow, west of Austin, on the same day as Phil (our Armadillo Day), predicted that we could plant crops here in Texas in three of four weeks, which would be about now.

            Looking out the window, I notice that my fig tree is putting out new leaves, and so are some of the other plants.  But my mother always said fig trees were dumb, -- you needed to watch the native pecan trees, they were much smarter and won’t bud out until they’re certain no frost or freeze is on the forecast docket.  As I look up at my pecan tree branches, I don’t see any budding out, though the glare prevents a clear view.  My mock orange is budding out just a tad, though it seems to be in doubt about what to do.  I also see the little lavender wild flowers peeking their heads out between the grass which is beginning to green up.

            All in all, I would say that Spring is peeping around the corner, but it’s not here yet.  Nonetheless, the horticulturists are out in their yards and gardens trying to get the soil ready for the seasonal rebirth.  My wife and some of her fellow Garden Club members are talking about our soil in Wharton County needing nitrogen, but, not, necessarily, phosphorus and potassium, -- don’t quote me on that, because I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Back in the old days in Dime Box, we just tossed some cow manure and leaf mold into the garden soil and let it go at that.  None of us had a chemistry set to analyze the chemical composition of cow poo.  But with my health issues, I’ve turned the gardening over to my wife, who usually does a rather good job, I must admit, and is much more meticulous than I ever was.  She used to teach botany and chemistry, so I figure she knows a lot more than I do.  Writing a haiku about a daffodil doesn’t insure its growth (though I have heard some think that talking to  your plants makes them healthier).

            What Spring generally does to a poet like me is to spark poems about nature and the natural world, observation being part of the creative process.  This week alone I have written three poems about the seasons, one about Wild Peaches, one about Garden Plums, another about Fig Trees, several about birds, including grackles, crows, and hummingbirds.  And, in several of those poems, I’ve thrown in a squirrel or two.  While some folks see those furry rodents as extremely annoying pests, I am always enraptured by their antics. 

            The Christian season of Lent coincides with the coming of Spring, and while some find Lent a depressing season, I have always found it energizing, just like the coming of Spring.  I’m not talking about the energizing of the fish and fellowship our Catholic friends provide us with every Friday during Lent, though that’s a great Lenten experience.  I’m talking about the spiritual invigoration Lenten confession and repentance bring.

            Many Christians, including Lutherans, believe that Lent is a time for fasting and penitence, preparing the soil of your soul for the rebirth and Resurrection celebrated at Easter.  The new growth in my yard seems like an appropriate symbol for the spiritual renewal Lent and Easter are ushering in.  Although I have retired from the public ministry, I still have the disposition to want to encourage folks in an attitude of confession and repentance.  Just as a late freeze can nip off the new growth, so can our negligence regarding prayer, confession and repentance interfere with our spiritual growth and renewal.  Grace is free, but how can a darkened soul receive it?    

            May the blessings of Lent and Spring be yours.

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Ray Spitzenberger is a free-lance writer and artist who lives in East Bernard with his beautiful wife Peggy and spoiled cat Gatsby.

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