Soaking up beauty of nature

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2012

It’s like a fairy-land out there. As my daughter and I drove to Blue Lake Methodist Camp Tuesday morning, numerous dogwood trees had burst into bloom. Their white blossoms interspersed with the greenery on each side of the highway, as if to shout, “Spring! It’s here, and there’s more to come!” I drank it all in, praising God that I lived in such a glorious, beautiful place as south Alabama.

The trip to Blue Lake reminds me of the road we traveled years ago from work in Cookeville, Tennessee, to our house in Algood a few miles away. Those woods were dotted with pink dogwood trees. Spring came much later in Middle Tennessee. I remember how the crocus plants beside our carport pushed themselves through a thin layer of snow in early spring. I never could reconcile myself to the thin sheets of ice that clung to our front steps when the calendar indicated the first day of spring was long past.

Cookeville, a pretty college town, was one of the friendliest places we had ever lived. Following my husband’s promotion to sergeant major while teaching ROTC at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the army had assigned him to the ROTC Department at Tennessee Technological University. We loved the town, we loved the people, and we loved the folks at the small Methodist Church we had joined. He reached his 20th year in the military during his time at Tennessee Tech and decided to retire. He accepted a job at the college. For the first time in our married life, we felt free to buy a house. There we thought we’d put down roots.

We had pretty much made the adjustment from military to civilian life when several factors influenced our decision to move. We realized that we had been far away from our parents much too long. And the longer we lived there, the more we disliked the lingering spring-time cold weather. It was time to return to our beloved home state of Alabama.

I’ll never forget how delighted I was with the scenery on our first trip to south Alabama for my husband’s job interview. There was so much greenery. Camellia bushes stood laden with beautiful blossoms. I was fascinated by trees with pink blooms that I learned later were Japanese magnolias.

My parents had taken me to Panama City, Fla., every summer when I was growing up. I loved the wonderful salty breeze from the Gulf of Mexico that caressed me when I romped and played on the beautiful white sand. I truly got sand in my shoes that kept drawing me back.

It was with joy that we soon found ourselves at home in lovely south Alabama where the ground is sandy, the beach is close, and springtime blooms explode into a spectacular fairyland. You must have noticed. Don’t take it for granted. Drink it all in. Then take time to praise God for his blessings of nature we enjoy.