Blackberry Winter Comes to Lulawissie

A Lulawissie Blackberry blossom
A Lulawissie Blackberry blossom
Last year's bountiful harvest
Last year's bountiful harvest
A fragrant Dogwood
A fragrant Dogwood
An Anole Lizard
An Anole Lizard

I first heard the phrase "Blackberry winter" about 10 years ago. Since then I have always looked forward to these cooler days at the end of spring, just before the summer heat builds up. The term itself is a bit confusing, even here in Dixie (especially to newcomers), as we don't have blackberries during the actual winter period.

Here in the Lulawissie Valley, Blackberries begin blooming in April and most plants bear fruit by the end of June. It seems that almost every Lulawissie Valley spring begins with continuous warm, humid days that lull us into thinking summer is just around the corner. It never fails, as soon as we have packed away our winter sweatshirts and coats, the local temperatures drop suddenly in early May. This "cold snap" never fails to surprise the locals, thus giving it the moniker "Blackberry winter," since it occurs after the Blackberry vines have begun to bloom.

We are indeed having a "Blackberry winter" this week in Lulawissie. The night-time temperatures are in the high 30’s and the daytime temps are around 70 or so. Last week the weather was in the 80’s, with some humidity and several severe thunderstorms. So far, it hasn’t been cold enough to hurt the Blackberry blossoms, but it has caused our local Anole lizards and striped skinks to slow down a bit. The lizards didn't budge when we leaned over and took pictures from just a few inches away.

We also saw this year’s first Ivory Bill Woodpeckers that showed up at Lakeshore Park during our all town Easter Picnic. The two birds hung out near the hay stacks grabbing pieces of straw and carried them back out to the island for nesting.

Despite this week’s “winter” chill, Sammie and I still went out for our daily walks. Aside from the chill in the air, the weather has a slight balminess to it, making it a little heavier than usual. The cool thickness of the air allows the fragrance of the dogwoods and the honeysuckle to loft slowly on its currents, giving a soft scent around town that makes you wish this time of the year would last forever. It is like a dream state. The cool air never gets so blustery that the Blackberry blossoms die. The cold snap doesn't last very long and soon the weather is back to normal by mid-May.

As usual, thanks for sharing your time with me. I always enjoy telling folks about this wonderful placewhere I live.

Copyright 2011 by Del Banks

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