Drew and I recently took a car trip – starting at our home in Conway, Arkansas – south through parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and back. Our Southern Trip, we creatively called it, stopping to visit family and friends along the way.
Coastal Florida was relaxing...and chilly.
Mardi Gras parades were electrifying...and chilly.
Extra layers were certainly helpful.
But it was the flowers, oh the unexpected flowers – in February! – that warmed my winter-weary soul. Tulip trees laden with pink blossoms, daffodils bedecked in yellow frills, tulips and azaleas aglow in shades of Easter basket delight.
(My word choice... too flowery, perhaps... but if flowers don't inspire poetry, what does?)
There was one camellia bush, in particular, that caught my eye. Its brilliant red flowers seemed to shout, "Spring is Really Here!" (at least in Florida.) The blossoms were too beautiful among the glossy leaves to snatch one off the branch, so I searched the ground below for a recent dropping. I found one, fingered its soft petals, and placed it gently in my pocket.
I took it back to our bed and breakfast and positioned it on a window sill to admire throughout the evening.
Then left it the next morning floating in a fountain, the redness adding a hopeful sign to the leftovers of winter.
And I carried a piece of that hope with me, as we drove on down the road.