The First Day of Spring: April 11th, 2019

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The Calendar Doesn’t always know when Spring will happen

If I don’t write this down I swear my brain will explode.  A day like today is the reason I moved to Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. Today is April 11th and it’s the first day of Spring.

Every Spring the Synchronous Fireflies light up Elkmont Campground in the Smokies
Synchronous Fireflies at Elkmont

Have you ever noticed that each season there is one perfect day.  A day that epitomizes what it means to be Spring or Summer or Winter or Fall. A day that officially or unofficially for you starts the season off. Like this is the day the poets and songwriters had in mind when they wrote that poem or song. Today is that day.

I noticed it when I was bringing my Dad back from town after his lab tests. I was just looking around and suddenly realized it’s amazing out here! This is the reason I’ve always wanted to be a photographer or an artist. I feel the need to capture this perfect day before it slips away. The greens are indescribable (and yet I’m describing them) The vernal green here is pretty intense with just a hint of autumn colors to them. It’s as if they’re reminding us not to get too attached to Spring (Winter is coming) But not today.

this year april 11th was the perfect spring day

The Vernal Greens of Spring cover the mountains
Vernal Green

Today is the first day of Spring.  The mountains are soft and fuzzy. Covered in light green, dark green, lemon green, and blue green. Everyone will tell you when you’re trying to paint greens it’s really hard to get them just the way you want them. I think this is the reason why. There’re just so many different shades of green. In between all of the greens the dogwoods are blooming white, the pink red buds are poking up and there’s some kind of fuchsia colored trees everywhere.  Not sure what they are I need to look them up. (I’m leaning towards crepe myrtle)

spring has all the colors

Spring brings out the most colorful flowers of the year.
April Showers bring Spring Flowers

There’s crazy color every place you look. After the gray winter suddenly Spring just bursts out in every color imaginable. I look around and I’m struck, that’s not the right word, awestruck that’s it! Gobsmacked even. This is what spring is supposed to look like and feel like and smell like. I wish this blog post had smell-o-vision just to get it perfect. There are golfers out enjoying the morning. I wonder if they even notice how beautiful it is. For the first time this year we may even hit 80° today. (flashback to Aprils past in Michigan Ohio and New York often with feet of snow)

I really shouldn’t be complaining. Let’s be honest here. This past winter was not that bad. Literally just one day when it snowed in December and it melted by 3 o’clock. We did have a very wet winter this year, very floody. One day my 45 minute drive took 2 hours due to all the roads being underwater. But that still beat snow.

While I’m driving Dad home and thinking about how beautiful it is, my brain is overflowing with Springtime Wonder. The second I turn on my recorder for my drive to work, it goes as quiet as the Warner Brother’s frog. I had all of these ideas running around like rampant squirrels until I turned on the microphone. Whatever. It’ll all come back or I’ll think of something else.

Cardinal Flowers and Black Swallowtail

I’m just overwhelmed at all the beauty here. Red Cardinal Flowers, lavender phlox, yellow buttercups and white flea-bane line the sides of the road. I literally do not want to go to work today. I want to grab my camera and my paints and run away into the mountains where phones don’t work.

monet knew what he was doing

Willow at Monet’s Pond in Giverny

There’s a Willow tree ahead of me that’s just as perfect as a Monet painting. Even if I can’t capture the perfection of it I still want to try. The leaves are so delicate and wispy I want to just pull the car over right now and paint it. That would probably be hard to explain at work. Sorry I’m late, boss, the trees were begging me to paint them. I couldn’t say no.

This is why I moved from the North to Tennessee. Yes, we had days like this back home but rarely in April. Tennessee has four seasons all roughly three months long. Not six months of winter and the other seasons divided up among the other six. The beauty of Spring here is amazing.

The white and pink Dogwoods of Spring bloom throughout the area
White Dogwood

I should probably pull the car over and take a picture to prove that it’s actually real. But a picture can’t convey the smells and the sounds that accompany what’s happening around me. The silkiness of the air, the smell of the freshly turned Earth, birds by the hundreds filling the air with, well, birdsong apparently.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just the sunshine coming out after so much rain. But again we have had plenty of days this winter where it was warm and sunny. There’s just something about this day and how it has all come together so perfectly like the perfect Spring package

every season you should find your perfect day

Irises

So now I’m inspired to find the perfect day for all of the other seasons as well. I drive this route every day but today I woke up and realized everything is alive with color.

Summer traditionally is my favorite season. But in Tennessee Summer’s not very colorful unless you’re at the beach. The flowers in the mountains have died back, the leaves are pretty much a uniform dusty green, and humidity like a hot wet blanket covers the mountains. The wind barely moves here because Townsend is surrounded by mountains. There are days during the Summer you just beg for the smallest of breezes. I will find that perfect summer day, though, mark my words.

I’m taking the back roads along the river due to the many rock slides we’ve had this Winter due to heavy rains. It’s a prettier drive but more hazardous because of all the bicyclists. They hate it if you come around a curve and run them over. So I’ll go slow and have more time to appreciate the beauty.

The Little River is at its best in the Spring
The Little River

Even the Little River is a beautiful Caribbean blue today not the usual muddy brown. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this color before. I’m hoping it’s just because it’s Spring not because of pollution. Right now it’s so clear for you can actually see the rocks on the bottom. Makes it much easier for the people to see the fish. I mean for the the fish to see the people. Smoky Mountain trout are notoriously hard to catch. The River is free of tubers at the moment (the tourist kind not the potato kind) so you can get a lovely unobstructed view.

welcome to the peaceful side

It’s so beautiful I’m at a loss for words (and yet I keep writing) Sometimes the English language just doesn’t have the right words that will work. Perhaps I’ll create one. There’s wisteria hanging all over the hill. So beautiful, so parasitic. The Summer homes are still closed and there’s a spring nearby where you can get fresh water. It’s been here for as long as anyone can remember. My boss is so lucky I’m coming in today

Tubing at the Wye in Townsend

This is why the tourists come here to the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. (must not run over the Tourists on bikes) There’s a reason we don’t have all the stores and restaurants and entertainment like Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg (think Canadian side of Niagara Falls without the Falls) People here like it quiet. Many who stay here are more interested in the natural beauty and activities like hiking, biking (get out of my way bicyclist) tubing, and horseback riding. If they want more touristy activities they just drive 20 minutes to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg then come back to Townsend and enjoy the peace and quiet.

catch a dragon by the tail

The Tail of the Dragon

I pass by a line of Broncos (no, not the horses, the cars) on their way to the Dragon. It’s a stretch of road favored by motorcycles and tourists. I think it’s like 360 curves in 11 miles. (Fact Check: The Tail of the Dragon: an 11 mile stretch of Route 129 that contains 318 curves. Also known as Deals Gap.) Just the thought of it makes me nauseous. I’ve lived here 15 years and I’ve never gone once. I enjoy my stomach too much. But there may be some good places to paint along the way

Spring Pink Dogwood

There’s some pink dogwoods along the road. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to paint one and make it look surreal and realistic at the same time. Mine just pretty much come out looking like cartoon flowers.

I have arrived at work and I believe I’ve exhausted my brain squirrels with Springtime goodness. Thank you for coming along with me.  My boss has no idea how lucky she is that I’m here.

While you’re out and about, see if you can find your perfect Spring day and please tell me all about it! Time to get ready for Summer!

June 20, the last Sunset of Spring

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