We are well past Easter and well into May, making the reintroduction of this archived sentiment a little belated. But life has gotten in the way. We are, however, still in spring and I think we need to be reminded of eternal nature of hope now more than ever. So please excuse my tardiness and enjoy the following entry.
“Hope springs eternal,” or at least that’s what the English poet Alexander Pope says. If that is true, I would say it is equally true that spring brings eternal hope. The hope of new life, fresh beginnings and a prosperous growing season have long helped sustain the people of Alabama. And nothing represents the manifestation of hope’s new bloom like the flora found right here at home.
Azaleas, camellias, magnolias, rhododendron, hydrangeas, crepe myrtles, gardenias, and the illusive but lovely pink dogwoods, represent just the beginning of an almost inexhaustible list of trees, shrubs and flowers found here in the Cotton State (did I mention one of my favorites, the cotton flower?). Although all of these species, and many more can be enjoyed in abundance in many parts of Alabama, the arboretums and botanical gardens such as Bellingrath provide especially nice venues for enjoying the arrival of spring.
I know many of you noticing this seamless segue are thinking .........smooooth, but this entry is not just about my unbridled exuberance for spring (and make no mistake, my exuberance for spring is unbridled), it’s also a platform to introduce our second postcard in the “postcards from Alabama” series. Bellingrath Gardens, established by Walter Bellingrath (owner of the Mobile Coca-Cola bottling plant—enough said) and his wife, Bessie, were first open to the public in the spring of 1932. The house, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in part from reclaimed brick from other well know buildings in and around Mobile. It sprawls along the Fowl River, but not in Mobile as our post card (hand dated Feb. 13, 1937!) suggests, but in Theodore, Alabama. As beautiful as the house is it is not the real draw. That, of course, is the gardens themselves .......imagine hitching a ride on a passing riverboat and riding it to the mouth of Mobile Bay and beyond. But I digress…
As I look at the transient blooms of my Bradford pear I hear the voices of my friends down at the local watering hole. Billy is reminding me that Easter is still a week away. Jack is saying, “We haven’t seen the late-March-early-April cold snap. Hell, it could snow! Don't you remember the blizzard of ’93?”
“Yes,” I say with a smile as I raise a glass. “Yes boys, but hope springs eternal.”
Happy spring from the yhtc.