I have always found Spring to be the finest of all the seasons. Not that each does not have its own special charm and beauty, not to mention necessity. But Spring -- whether in the southern New York of my childhood, the northern Ohio of my early adult years, or the northeast Florida of my last 25 trips around the sun -- has forever been by favorite...
Here in northeast Florida, where we are not in the middle of the tourist vision of Queen Palm trees, mouse ears, south beach glamour, and year-round 70 degree temperatures, Spring is the wildflower season. To many these are weeds to be kept from copy-cat mid-western style lawns of manufactured Flora-tam grass. To me they are amazements... signals and signs that nature will triumph every time, despite our best efforts to subdue her.
This has been a particularly abundant year for Spring native wildflowers here in metro-Jacksonville. You have no doubt read about our pollen storm following an unusually cold winter of extended freezes here in the extra-tropical north of the Sunshine State. That's Nature's way of self-preservation... while the non-local immigrant-planted warmth-loving invasive flora were frost-burnt to the bone beyond the point of no return, the natives turned on their reproductive afterburners to assure their future survival in this world of climate changed seasonal weather patterns.
So last weekend we hiked the trail down at the Julington-Durbin Preserve, a thin stretch of protection on property that used to be part of a cypress swamp, logged out long ago, to photograph the spring crop of tiny, flowering native wonder. I used my 150mm macro lens in order to get up close and personal with the blossoms, some of which were no more and an eighth inch in diameter.
What a fantastic time to on the hoof in the recovering, ever more rare, natural sand hills and wetlands of north Florida...