Don Lively



It’s nearly that time.

If you’ve lived around these parts for long, you’ll know exactly what time I mean.

The piles of white material have begun to appear on the edges of fallow, still weedy fields. I don’t have enough farmer in me to know what the chalky looking substance is, lime maybe, though I know it’s not land plaster. Land plaster will come later.

No, I don’t know what the piles are or what they accomplish beyond the fact that whatever is going to be planted in those fields will eventually benefit.

I don’t know what they do, but I know beyond doubt what they signify.

Planting season will be here in “two shakes of a rabbit’s tail”, as Mama used to say.

I’ve noticed that some of the fields have already been plowed, the middles busted and the furrows slightly heaped, the first step before the actual planting will begin.

Even as a young boy who dreamed of leaving the farm and exploring the rest of the world, I still loved the planting season.

The planting season meant that it was spring and I have always loved springtime.

Spring is here.

The main reason that I can tell is the nearly universally despised pollen. Yes, I’m aware of how necessary pollen is for the survival of humanity. I know all about pollen is required for the “seeding” of new generations of plant. But I also know that my eyes and nose and nasal passages fill up with the yellow stuff and drive me to distraction for a few weeks.

Still, pollen is the only down side of spring, in my judgement.

This week I have begun to see the little white buds start to pop out in the small dogwood grove just a few feet from the north porch. In a week or so it will be in full bloom, lasting for several days. Dogwood season could be longer for my money but I do enjoy it while it lasts.

The woods between my house and the road, a couple of hundred yards away, have begun to green up. Since late October, any car going down the road has been at least partially visible after the leaves vacated the area. With the exception of the few pines, there’s been nothing green between the west porch and the mailbox.

I welcome the foliage.

And, the new squirrels.

The wooded enclave has never lacked for squirrels and every year about this time I start to see the babies, high in the sweetgums and oaks crawling in and out of the patchwork of stick nests where their mamas and daddies brought them into the world. They are as cute as they can be and they seem to know not to venture too far while the parents are out gathering food.

The hummers are back too.

I’ve never been one of those folks who seem nearly obsessed with hummingbirds, and never put out a feeder until I moved back near the old homeplace. Once I decided to give it a try, I know see why people enjoy the energetic little buzzballs. I usually hear them coming before they actually head to the feeder. They seem to like to perch on a limb and watch me for a few minutes to make sure that I’m no threat before they proceed to gorge themselves. I always thought that hummingbirds were pretty much all the same color but theses days, when they start fighting over the feeder spouts, they put on quite a colorful performance.

This afternoon I pulled all of the winter weeds out of my raised tomato box, raised so that I don’t have to get down on my knees to work. Getting down there isn’t all that hard, it’s the getting back up that’s the problem. I built the box so that I can till, weed, fertilize and pick without so much as bending over. I’m quite proud of the box and, because it will soon be time to plant, am already starting to think about tomato sandwiches and tomato pies, two more great reasons to love spring.

So, in spite of the itchy eyes, the runny nose and the slight dizziness brought on by the pollen, spring is back in grand style.

Welcome back.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of several books of Southern Humor. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.