Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring in the South

So this first spring in Upstate Carolina, so far, has meant the following:

Spring starts a month earlier here. I was startled to see leaves beginning on trees before February was over, a humid warmth start to tinge the air in March. It's midway through April and the warm days are hot indeed, everything burst out in flowers a few weeks ago.

Which leads to my next point.

Spring in the South means pollen collects. This is a photo of a rivulet of pollen on the hood of my car, but that doesn't really get across to you just how it collects. It is a thin fuzz on the table on my in-laws' screened-in sunporch. It covers our chairs outside on our patio. It blows in the wind, rains down constantly.

People take to wiping off outside chairs before every time they can sit down at them.

When we looked at how much pollen had accumulated on my car in such a short time, I looked at it for a while, then gave a sigh and said, "Well, it doesn't matter how much I want my sister to move here, she can't. Well. She could but I kind of like it when she's not so sick she can't breathe after five minutes..."

Which, by the way, is why my sister never goes in my apartments.

I will direct you to our cat, who has the unfortunate problem of being covered in skin and fur my sister is deathly allergic to.

Actually, I think my brother is allergic to cats, too...

Moving on.

Spring is an explosion of flowers, in bushes and in trees. On vines making their crawling way up the trees. Everyone plants gardens in a seeming frenzy. Jason and I aren't immune; we spent more money than we probably should have at Lowe's buying a tomato plant and two kinds of basil for this year.

Anyone needs two kinds of basil? I have a feeling we'll be drowning in it.

Although we have a third kind now.


Hope I like basil as much as I think I do.

And, of course, spring means the kudzu comes back. The Plant That Ate the South begins its surprisingly fast, inexorable crawl back up out of the remains of last year's vines and leaves. I walk past a spot in our apartment complex constantly, watching the kudzu. It occurs to me if I stood still for a few hours, I'd probably see it grow.

Every time I see a pile of new kudzu, green and rising and looking for something to cling onto and cover, I hear the Jaws theme start up in my head.

Da dum... da dum... da dum da dum da dum...

Don't leave a car for longer than you must near any growing kudzu. Give it a month? The car will be totally covered. Driving down here in spring and summer turns into an interesting version of the cloud-game. You know, when you look at clouds and try to decide what the shapes resemble?

Well, you can do that with kudzu when it takes over trees.

You'll see a whole small clearing of little humps where kudzu has eaten trees and otherwise covered the ground in a flat blanket of vibrant green.



It's spring. I am surrounded by the sudden growth of things (although today I'm mostly surrounded by rain), and flowers, and sharklike plants whose only goal is to cover the world with their greenery. I'm surrounded by people in pretty spring dresses and the reappearance of linen, white cardigans and sandals and everyone pulling out their bright colors again.

Welcome to spring in upstate South Carolina...

year one.


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