Spinning tales about the messengers of spring. Spring is a time of rejuvenation. Typically, this season is announced by messengers such as animals and flowers.
When the red-breasted robin, the prime spring messenger, arrives in one’s yard, there is mild weather approaching. This bird bobs, hops and tugs at worms. He sings "cheerily" from his perch to attract a mate. Ultimately, the nest will harbor three to five striking blue eggs.
As well heralding spring is the eastern bluebird, a cousin of the robin, bedecked in vibrant blue to promote mating.
Besides cheerful bird songs, there are significant sounds of spring echoing across the pond. The alligator bellows. The bullfrog, the largest native frog in North America, roars like a bull. The pig frog grunts like a pig. For safety, wash hands when handling a frog since skin secretions can irritate the eyes.
Another harbinger, Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania, is overrated for his prediction of spring by seeing or not seeing his shadow. His accuracy is merely 39 percent.
Nurtured by showers, longer days of sunlight and a stronger sun, flowers signal springtime by peeking through their buds. Here, in Florida, flowers grow year round. Appropriately, in 1513, our future state was labeled "La Florida" (land of flowers) by Ponce de Leon. Some historians claim the name was derived from "Pascua Florida" (feast of flowers) — the Easter season when the Spaniard discovered the peninsula which he believed was an island. Disembarkment was probably in St. Augustine or Melbourne Beach.
This explorer also is famous for his Fountain of Youth quest, seemingly a tale. Still, hope remains for eternal youth in stem-cell research or simply smelling the flowers.
Certainly, the sweetest smelling flower in the spring in Central and South Florida is the white orange blossom nestled in a cluster. This is our state flower. Since the orange tree might flower and bear fruit simultaneously, the blossom is associated with fertility. Therefore, in ancient China, brides customarily wore a crown of orange blossoms. Actually, England’s Queen Victoria also wore a wreath of orange blossoms in her hair for her wedding day. Furthermore, this flower’s oil might improve sleep and circulation and reduce anxiety.
The coreopsis, our state wildflower, also starts to bloom in the spring. It brightens the roadsides from yellow to pink. Because its seed resembles a bug or tick, it is frequently called tickseed.
Other states are plentiful with spring wildflowers. In Maine, the violet varies from shades of blue to purple; though 18 species invade surroundings, all is forgiven with the splendor of color. In Texas, the bluebonnet, primrose and Indian paintbrush dramatize the landscape.
Indeed, the gift of spring revitalizes man, animal and plant. It is a season not to be silenced.