Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

May 22, 2014

Phil Power: Spring is finally starting to stir in Michigan

Having four distinct seasons used to be one of the things those of us living in Michigan boasted about. After this past winter and the present cold, wet, late spring, I’m not so sure any more.

Instead of a blessing, this year our climate has seemed more of a curse. Granted, despite the cold and rain, last week returned us to the spring glories of living in Michigan.

The grass was that emerald green you only get in its first flush. The Daffodils kept their bright blooms glowing for a long time in the cold, while Tulips flamed in their accustomed red, yellow and orange. The Crab Trees — at least, those branches still living — burst into pink and white flower.

But the winter certainly took its toll. The Forsythia, at least mine, flowered hardly at all, except for a few branches that were protected under the snow. It looks as though we’ll get only a few Dogwood blossoms and the Redbud is sparse.

I lost several big peach trees over the winter; and after last year’s massive apple crop, most apple trees I see have very few flowers. But, gloriously, the Lilacs burst into full flower last week. This I take as compelling evidence of global warming (not the watered-down term “climate change.”)

When I was growing up, a sure sign of Memorial Day was the blooming of the Lilacs. Nowadays they’re a couple weeks earlier than they used to be - even after our terrible winter.

Lilacs, however, are something I always notice … and no wonder. Looking back, I can’t help but reflect that my family has a thing for Lilacs.

My parents were married on June 17, 1929, in Oostburg, Wis., near the western shore of Lake Michigan. When my father asked my mother what kind of flowers she wanted for her wedding, she asked — trying to keep things simple — for white Lilacs. Little did she know that by mid-June in the Midwest, Lilac season is long past. So my father somehow found a way to ship blossoming white Lilac branches all the way from Northern Canada.

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