I suppose spring has truly arrived. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, thus the end of Lent and the beginning of the Christian Holy Week, when we look to and celebrate the Resurrection. Spring is much like that- everything awakens with new life.
Depending on the Christian denomination, Palm Sunday carries with it more or less importance, but surely you remember the story. Christ enters Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey; and the people, the common people, spread clothing and palm leaves before his path saying, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David.” It was clearly a happy event.
As a child, Palm Sunday was always happy for me. It was a precursor to Easter that seemed to be a bright, clean and (in my mind) a very cheerful holiday. And isn’t it Providential that Easter falls in the month of Nisan of the Jewish calendar, coinciding with our spring? The world around us awakens.
Then, there’s the “special charm of a Southern spring” (as the famous garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence described it), and doesn’t Spring here in East Texas have a special charm? Yellow Carolina Jasmine is in bloom, orange and peach colored crossvine, spireas of all sorts are coming into bloom right now. Fruit trees (crab apples, pears, peaches) splash soft pastels above our heads. Then, there are the little things that grow close to the ground like the little phlox we call Thrift, and ferns are unfurling their foliage. I especially like the little Maidenhair fern this time of the year. And then there are the Lady Banksia roses all in yellow and white, coming in great clouds.
Even our forest trees celebrate spring. Oaks, elms, sweet gum, sugarberries all over the county have that “special charm”, clothing themselves in an early spring, chartreuse. The pale greens contrast so beautifully with the deep greens of our pines. Dogwoods and the Grancy Graybeards light up the woods with white. They are the horticultural equivalent of twinkle lights. And if you look around there are even a few of our spring bulbs that linger on.
Then, last of all, there are our azaleas. They really need no one to speak for them. They trumpet their own entrance into the grand feast days of spring with color, color that is anything but subtle. They come into our spring with a flourish and panache that few plants can equal.
So, as you think about the entrance of spring and the Resurrection, think about new life- colorful, vivid, fresh. Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Spring is a glorious season.