Spring is a fickle mistress, taunting us for weeks with her "come here, come here, go away, go away" flirtations. People think of Texas as being a hot dry country and so it is; we have been in an overall drought for years. People get so excited when it rains around here , they post news of it on their facebook pages. South Texas is much like Florida or California in terms of overall climate, gently melding from winter to summer and back again with little differentiation. Yet in north Texas we do have 4 distinct seasons. Summer may be the longest one, but that does not mean we don't long for spring to come, just the same. Every year that I can remember, we've had a period of unseasonably warm weather in late February. Everyone puts away their winter clothes, pulls out the lawn furniture, and starts planting flowers. Inevitably, we get one last hideous cold snap that seems to catch people by surprise, year after year. In 2008 we had 6-8 inches of snow on March 8. This year the last cold snap was not as drastic; just a week long period of sleeting rain and gray skies. Temps in the high 30's. Bone chilling, raw and damp. It is still miserable enough to make my joints start to ache, and force me to dig out my coat and golashes one more time.
Through all this, one glimmer of hope remains. Bright little pansies may make a brave show through most of the winter, often surviving even a severe ice storm . Tulips, irises and jonquils can suddenly pop up in yards around this time as well. But the one thing that I know heralds the spring is the blooming of the redbud tree. Denton fancies itself the "Redbud Capital of the World" or somesuch, and for years had a little festival that city fathers tried valiantly to time to line up with the actual blooming of said trees. They chased the persnickety blooms all over the calendar, often changing the festival dates forward or back, as global warming would have it, and often not coinciding with their namesake at all. Yet the redbuds bloom on- each year around this time, give or take a week. Their bright pink color stands out amidst the gray green of other shrubs whose time has not yet come, and promise that soon it will be warm and sunny enough to truly enjoy being outside.