The Shortest Sign of Spring

This has been the longest spring of my life. In Tallahassee, spring began at the end of February with the first sign of budding flowers and pollen. Pollen completely took over our screened porch by March, and then different flowers continued to bud and flourish through April. Of course, flowers bloom year round in Florida. I remember these beautiful red flowers that came up each December. But there was definitely an early spring season. When we moved to North Carolina at the end of May, it was still cool here (58 degrees our first morning!) and our  landlord told us that these beautiful pink flowers would bloom “soon” on our back porch. I had my doubts. By the first week of June I thought surely they had already bloomed and disappeared by now, but, sure enough, come mid-June mountain laurel type flowers began opening up on all of the bushes around our house and bright orange flowers sprouted by our mailbox (clearly, I need to learn the names of flowers). Spring continued in my world 6 months after it began. It still feels like spring here.


Every spring in Tallahassee, I looked forward to April when these purple and white flowers bloomed outside of our apartment. They are buds with tiny petals that seem to multiply magically. My sister would always visit in April or May and I’d point them out – it’s like they bloomed to welcome her. I don’t even know what they’re called, but these beauties were EVERYWHERE in Tallahassee.

During my last April in Tally, I was sad when I noticed these flowers popping up everywhere BUT our front door. I thought maybe they had accidentally gotten uprooted during our roof repair, and I was sad to think about them not being around anymore. But then, during my last month of Tallahassee – in MAY – I saw a bud.


I was so happy. And I decided to document it’s growth so I could always remember this beautiful process.

Every day when I walked outside, or each evening when I returned from yoga and the lighting was perfect, I snapped a picture.

Flower 2    Flower 3

I loved watching the first clusters expand and open.

Flower 4 Flower 4.5

I got all sappy thinking about how this flower would reach full bloom right around the time we moved out. I was giddy – honestly – about documenting this process.

Flower 5 Flower 6

And then, it snapped.

Flower 7

I don’t know what caused it to happen, but when this stem broke, my heart basically split in two, too.

Flower 8
I just couldn’t believe it. I remember when I stepped outside – I don’t even remember where we were going – but let out a half laugh half yell, “NO!” and then yelled at Bret to go get me some tape. I found a stick.

I made a splint.

Flower Splint 1 Flower Splint 2

I thought, maybe, that would fix things. Maybe I had saved this little flower. I hoped that if the stem was upright it would still be able to do it’s job and pump nutrients to this flower from the earth. Please stay alive I thought.

Flower Splint 4
I kept taking pictures. And I was hopeful, but I noticed some of the younger blooms were doing better and this one was kind of wilting. It was a really sad, miserable feeling – watching this flower die slowly. Bret suggested I start photographing another one, but of course, I couldn’t.

Flower Splint 5

This story does not have a happy ending. The flower died. One day I finally cut the tape off, tossed the stick away, and just let it go. It’s time in Tallahassee was shorter than anticipated. And by the time I moved out, it was gone.

Flower Splint 6

I guess it just proves you can’t predict everything. Or control everything. Or fix everything.

I do miss these Florida flowers, though. And I wish I had a million pictures of them. I hope I can figure out what they are and maybe I can try plant them here next spring.

Otherwise, I’ll have to remember them by this short-lived documentary.

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