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by Ron
Spring is Different Here 

Barb and I are both originally from Michigan so we remember how we would look forward to spring.  Barb still has childhood memories of fragrant lilacs in the back yard. Several times in our full-timing travels she has had me cut a few lilac branches from alongside the road hoping that no one would notice. Back in Michigan, after a long winter, we didn't even mind the April rains because we could already see the budding trees and a few hardy  tulips pushing up in the flower beds. Sure it was still cool, but once in awhile if we had a warm day we knew that spring would soon be in full bloom. Our little motorhome was primed and ready to go and in order to get a jump on spring we would plan some weekends in southern Ohio or southen Indiana because they were about three or four weeks ahead of us weather wise. A little later we would certainly plan a trip to Holland, Michigan, where acres and acres of tulips dominated the landscape and folks were already busy preparing for the annual Tulip Festival. School wasn't out yet so it wasn't hard to get a site in nearby Holland State Park situated right on Lake Michigan and close to Holland itself. That was then, but spring is different for us now.

We have noted that many snowbirds and even full-timers head north come March or April. And sometimes they are headed into some bad weather.  Spring is not always sunshine and flowers up north. There are things that draw folks back early though including farming obligations, family gatherings, graduations, confirmations and income taxes. I could never understand why their income tax couldn't be done from their southern location.  So it's not just a balmy spring that draws them back. They may even find that a late snow is covering the tulips. On several occassions we have gone back to a cold, rainy Michigan in May and now vow not to do it again unless a family emergency requires it. It's not always best to follow the crowd.

Now let me tell you about a different type of spring and one that we have grown to love. Many others  are also staying south longer and have discovered that it can be a wonderful experience. Here in southern Arizona the desert comes alive in a brillant array of colors. Even the prickly pear cactus that is so abundant sprouts many differnt colors of blossoms ranging from deep red to white.  The Saguaro's have a white crown on the top of their arms which Barb says looks like a pretty spring bonnet. Not many winter visitors have seen the Saguaro in blossom because they leave before they bloom (May). It's not just the desert that's beautiful. RV parks, resorts and neighborhoods are bursting with blooms on  plants and bushes adding to the joy of a morning walk. Just overnight our front yard Ocotillo plants suddenly became covered with small green leaves and now sprigs of orange flowers are begining to sprout from the ends of the long branches. I could describe many more plants but I haven't learned the names yet. 

You have heard the jokes about the dry heat, but it really is comfortable. I played golf yesterday and it was 88 degrees (I walked) with a gentle breeze blowing. We were very comfortable and the course was empty with no waiting or anyone behind us. The rates were also low and you know that this old accountant likes that. Now that most of the winter visitors have headed north we notice that the traffic is lighter and there is no waiting at the popular restaurants.

Ah Spring -- I love it in southern Arizona. No bugs, no lawn to mow and we have it to ourselves. I guess that I am a good advertisment for the Chamber of Commerce. 

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