Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling


 Porch Tale    



Marsh Spring

By Dickie Anderson 


I keep returning to the same show. Day after day. Hour after hour. Best of all I have a private box seat. My marsh side porch. The show? The amazing on-going review – the arrival of spring. 

Each year as spring arrives and the days warm, I am filled with wonder. It never gets old. The years have not blunted my sense of awe at the pure miracle of the season. Gone are the northern springs of my past. Those springs of memory came with a bang and often overnight. When winter finally took her leave, spring came skipping in. You could almost feel it and hear it. Bulbs pushing up through the dark damp earth reaching for the sun until one day they pop open. Fruit trees bloom like miniature fireworks frozen in newly greening landscape. Each day bringing a new gift. 

Southern springs are different. As if on a timer, each colorful player moves center stage – first red bud and dog wood and then azalea with other close behind. They wait in line and take turns showing off.  

The marsh creatures know it is spring. Birds of all shapes and colors are madly darting back and forth looking for housing. Fat marsh rabbits seem to multiply before our very eyes. We once again talk about getting a watch cat, a rabbit chasing, squirrel killing terminator cat. The rabbits continue to consider our back yard and flower beds one big salad bar.  

We ask ourselves is it worth it to take on another creature; its needs, wants, idiosyncrasies and vet bills? Big Guy firmly states it will be an outdoor cat. He knows better. 

I wander through the vestiges of last year’s garden and check for survivors. Even the saddest of plants seems to show some sign of life. Many times a plant appearing dead or dying comes back to bloom another day. There is a lesson in that. I have learned not to pull the trigger too quickly. 

As I happily encourage the comeback kids, I notice that with the good comes the unwelcome in the form of determined weeds and the ferns that spread like a bad case of poison ivy. Just part of the deal I remind myself. 

This time of year local nurseries and discount stores are filled with tempting flats of brightly colored flowers. Big Guy and I go to buy water softener salt and guess what comes home? Rose bushes, impatiens, marigolds, petunias and fertilizer. Next time he won’t ask me to come along. 

Yes, this time of year is the time to celebrate the miracle of renewal and new life. We put in our days weeding, planting and watering. 

Garden-tired we retire to the porch cold drink in hand to watch the sun drop behind the screen of trees on the far side of the marsh behind our house. These are good days, the life affirming early days of spring.

Our porch photo is of Wallow Lodge on Sapelo Island, Georgia.

Dickie Anderson is a free-lance writer living on Amelia Island, Florida. Born in Seattle, Washington raised in Chicago and schooled in New York, Dickie ended up in Iowa City, Iowa where she was responsible for the marketing of the men's and women's athletic programs at the University of Iowa. She started her own marketing and consulting business and moved to Amelia Island. Her quirky look at mid-life and living on a barrier island off Northern Florida resulted in her weekly column, From the Porch, for the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville Florida's daily newspaper.  Learn more about Dickie and her books at . 

© 2005, Dickie Anderson, All Rights Reserved