I fell in love with the southern spring in 1991, driving through the drizzle in rural Georgia, yards lit up with phlox  — all the more brilliant set off by the soft grey light.  (This stuff. I didn’t know what it was at the time.)  Even the interstates are beautiful right now, lined by a patchwork of pale greens  — each tree standing out for few short weeks, until the newborn leaves mature and darken, receding for the summer into a uniform chunk of forest backdrop.

Dogwoods and azaleas are on duty this month, a consolation for gardeners vexed by the haphazard weather.  It’s been violet-wilting hot one day, tomato-freezing cold the next.  And we won’t mention the little tornadoes that dropped in the other night.  (Not a sign of trouble in our corner, despite the noisy wind through the night, not even the still-open patio umbrella was disturbed.   But a colleague out in the county had her grain silo flipped over.  Mischievous weather.)

The last waves of the migratory birds are turning out at the feeders — colorful strangers you only see twice a year, never long enough to identify.  We had a hummingbird at our porch the other evening; I’m hopeful those will stick it out for the summer.   I wonder if anyone knows when the monarchs pass through?   We watched them travel home one fall  — October? — while camping at the Cove, but we’ve never crossed paths on their northern journey.  Will keep an eye out.

I just went to peek and see if our eastern bluebirds are still at home in the hollowed-out maple.  She and I surprised each other, face-to-face for an instant, then we both ducked away, too shy.