While others are still suffering through snowstorms, Spring begins to creep in at the end of February here. It's barely noticable at first. One will notice a bloom or two on an azalea shrub or the faintest tinge of chartreuse on the outer branches of the oak trees alerting one to the fact that nature is awakening. Then the dogwood trees begin to bloom and the azaleas burst forth almost in unison. March tiptoes in and before we know it, Spring is here.
It is at this time that we have perfect weather. Yesterday there was not a cloud in the sky, the temperature was in the mid-70's fahrenheit, and a constant breeze blew. It was the kind of day that makes you want to play outside no matter how old or young you are. Today was nearly identical with the exception of cotton candy poofs of clouds dotting the sky.
I don't know how they do it but the folks at Oak Alley Plantation (http://www.oakalleyplantation.com) always pick this perfect weather weekend to host their annual Arts & Crafts Festival. This afternoon E and I, along with our dear friend D and her daughter (our gorgeous godchild), took a ride down to Vacherie and hit the festival. About 150 vendors were there with all sorts of crafts and such. The smell of Cajun food was carried along with the breeze. We walked and looked and just enjoyed the sunshine. We bought nothing except bottled water and a huge bag of freshly popped kettle corn*. We sat under an ancient oak and listened to the local bands and singers perform.
Days like today make you forget anything that isn't going right in your life. On a day like today folks walk around with huge smiles on their faces and those faces are often pointed toward the sun. Days like today make you aware of Nature more than you are at any other time. You grin at her beauty as you touch the newly bloomed azaleas and feel the grass on your toes at the front of your sandles. Days like today make you grateful to just be alive and able to enjoy your surroundings.
We may actually have a few more weeks of this perfect weather before the humidity completely takes over. I'm making a promise to myself to enjoy each and every one of them remaining. Then I'll look forward to the return of perfection near the end of October.
*Kettle Corn is popcorn popped in a huge sugar kettle (used to boil down sugar cane on the old plantations). The popcorn is lightly coated with a bit of sugar (cane sugar here in Louisiana, of course!) and the sugar lightly carmelizes as the corn pops. If you have never had the opportunity to experience kettle corn, I highly recommend that you add it to your list of things to do. The commercial popcorn makers now have their own versions of kettle corn in microwavable bags but do yourself a favor and try the real, fresh stuff first. :-)