Spring has sprung here in South Carolina, with some gorgeous weather. It’s actually a bit chilly this morning, but overall there have been some warm—even borderline hot—days, with plenty of bees a-buzzing. One managed to get into my house, but I was able to capture him in a Tupperware container and release him back to the world, though I flung the container as I opened it and dashed in the other direction—yikes!
Just like two years ago, my flowerbeds are 80% weeds, 20% plants I want growing there, so I’ve got to get on that this weekend. The relentless growth of dandelions makes it a Sisyphean task, but I must endeavor to do better in my humble flowerbeds this year.
It’s also the downward slope to summer vacation. At this point, there’s probably another couple of weeks of actual learning to be had, then a leisurely drift into exam review week and exams themselves. I’m also cooking up the 2022 iteration of the TJC Spring Jam, which I might make into a recital for my students this year.
Two years ago, during The Age of The Virus, we enjoyed an unusually long, mild spring in South Carolina. Readers who don’t live in the South might not appreciate the significance of that: we typically get a couple weeks—maybe three—of proper spring weather before summer dominates everything in a veil of humidity and heat, refusing to lift its terrible, sweaty fist until sometime around Thanksgiving. At a time when every remotely communal activity had to be done outdoors, a mild spring was a Godsend.
Indeed, I think it was a literal one: I really do think God sent us that cooler weather so we could still be together during that difficult time.
Regardless, hot or cold, I’m glad to be alive, and that The Age of The Virus—at least for now—seems to be an increasingly distant memory.
With that, here is 11 May 2020’s “The Joy of Spring“:
Seasons in South Carolina are not the stately procession of one phase of life from one to another, with flowers poking through snow, or a crisp autumnal chill sneaking into the night air in late September. Instead, it’s as hot on Halloween as it is on the Fourth of July (well, maybe just a tad cooler, but you’d never know from the humidity). I often joke with out-of-Staters that we get about two weeks of spring and two weeks of fall, with about nine months of summer and two months of winter—and even the winter is interspersed with some summery days.
This year, South Carolina has been blessed with an unusually long and mild spring. It’s 11 May, and I’m still wearing sweatshirts in the mornings. We had a brief foretaste of the long summer a couple of nights last week, when the cloying thickness of summertime humidity hung menacingly in the air—the threat of summer’s oppression. But God has seen fit to grant us at least a few more days of mild springtime.
One of the ironies of The Age of The Virus—one much-remarked upon, I’m sure—is how this deadly super flu has descended upon us during one of the loveliest times of the year. That’s fortunate, as anecdotally it seems that sunshine and Vitamin D are effective deterrents to the bug.
It also suggests that God possesses a sense of humor, one that is not only subtly ironic, but loving as well. Consider: everything remotely communal that we do now must take place outside. If the weather is foul, or simply too hot, those activities become unpleasant, even impossible. Yet we’ve been accorded bright, sunshiny weather for most of this ordeal.
For example, my little country church has been conducting services outdoors. Congregants park their cars and listen to the sermon over their radios. Pastor Monday delivers his sermon outside in the breezeway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. If it were ninety degrees and 100% humidity, he’d be basting inside his suit, and everyone would be idling their engines for forty-five minutes. Instead, they can roll down their windows and be reasonably comfortable.
Readers who live outside the South probably don’t have an appreciation for how terrible our summers are. Even we aren’t used to them. Air-conditioning made the New South possible (for good and for ill—maybe we could have kept the Yankee colonizers at bay if everything didn’t “run like a Trane”). Stepping outside is like visiting the surface of Venus. You pretty much have to resign yourself to being sweaty all of the time.
So this mild, crisp spring is a literal Godsend—a reprieve from the heat during a time where we’re either always indoors, or standing six feet apart from one another outside.
Spring is also a powerful reminder of Christ’s Resurrection. Everything is blooming right now. I haven’t seen the bees that reside somewhere in my car shed in awhile, but they were buzzing about my azalea bushes with chubby glee several weeks ago. The first buds of grapelings are appearing on their vines, and my poor flower beds are rife with weeds (a project to complete while the weather is still tolerable).
I thank God for His Mercy and abundance. Seriously—He is merciful to spare us the usual summer heat that hits here in late April and early May.
To that thanks, Lord, I add a prayer: please keep it like this until at least June.
And all God’s people say, “AMEN!”