Normally in Arkansas spring arrives the end of February when the old fashioned jonquils, planted a century or more ago, burst forth in glorious bloom. They are almost like wild flowers, for the woods are filled with them. Yet they must be planted by humankind. So why are the woods and pastures ablaze with golden blooms? Because once someone lived everywhere you find a large patch of these lovely flowers.
When I visit the new Lake Ft. Smith State Park I can find those my mother planted more than
70 years ago. A picnic table sits on a knoll above the new lake and there was once the house in which I was born and lived until the age of five when we moved to town so I could attend school. Around that table still bloom those jonquils she lovingly planted so long ago.
There are spots all over these Boston Mountains where a lonely stone fireplace reaches into the sky, and at its feet are spread carpets of sunshine. Deep in the wilderness, where roads no longer exist, a brave hiker off the beaten path will stumble upon a field of jonquils nodding in the warm spring breezes. And know that her feet trod where once a family lived and worked and played.
It is said that the more you leave them alone, the easier these bulbs spread and the more proficient the blooms. If you take a lawn mower to them after they bloom, and before six weeks have passed, they will stop blooming and eventually die out.
This year spring came late to the Ozarks. It was the end of March before the jonquils bloomed and everything else has followed suit. The dogwood and redbud are just now bursting forth.
But every year, no matter the cycle of blooms, Fayetteville, Arkansas celebrates spring with a festival they’ve dubbed Springfest. Up to 10,000 people gather along famed Dickson Street. Vendors of everything one can possibly dream up line the street. There are bed races and plenty of other fun events. Bands play, singers sing and dancers perform. This year writers represented by Oghma Creative Media were present to sign their books. For the first time in my memory we were actually invited to take part, along with musicians and performers, thanks to the efforts of Casey Cowan and his crew.
Big Foot showed up at our booth because Pamela Foster, one of our authors, has written a book called Big Foot Blues. He was popular with the kiddies and many of the dogs checked him out too. I worried that huge 300 pound mastiff might take Big Foot on, but he wisely ignore him.
I visited with Pam as well as western authors Dusty Richards and Greg Camp, mystery author Gil Miller, Mike Miller, Alice White, Nancy Hartney, Ruth Weeks and Jan Morrill, and a good time was had by all. Do want to mention Robin Cowan, a young man who took charge of me and saw that I was where I needed to be, no easy task. If he’s any indication of teen agers today, we are in very good shape indeed.
Here’s a redbud tree showing its glorious colors in my backyard. Happy Spring to Everyone!!