Monday, March 22, 2010

Harbingers of Spring

Swaying in the March winds are the harbingers of spring in the Ozarks: Yellow and Purple Crocus, Field and hybrid Daffodils, Dandelions, Grape Hyacinths, giant Hyacinths, budding Redbuds and Japonicas (quince), Forsynthias, creeping Periwinkle, signs of Tulips ready to bloom, the clumps of green Naked Lady leaves, and Snow Lilies.

Snow Lilies. Somebody is pulling my leg or turning Arkansan folk lore into Texan Tall Tales.

I never heard of 'em until I moved to Arkansas. And herein lies today's story--just one of those re-educational moments of my conversion from Texan to Arkansan.

We moved to Arkansas in May, 1980. We set up house, literally; we bought and placed a double-wide manufactured home on a residential lot in our small town, population at the time about 1000.

During the next few early years we spent time pursuing jobs, friends, church, etc. In that pursuit, there was a proverbial search for a hairdresser who was willing to deal with my contrary hair [see posts,
Part 1 and Part 2]. In those years I only knew it was contrary and obstinent, but did not know the reason which I learned in 2000 was Cherokee in origin.

A friendly neighbor from whom we purchased our lot, suggested a hairdresser whose husband was a plumber she used.

Pity on her--I made the usual appointment, taking the name of the permanent and exact details of application from my former hairdresser, who, no doubt was glad I moved on.

The local hairdresser and I seemed to share a lot in common and became fast friends--best friends (BF). She had lived in our tiny town long before me and knew EVERYBODY, and doubt the beauty shop clientele provided much information, whether reliable or not.

This is BF's story. [I would have invited her to personally tell it as she is a journalist, but she is suffering a bone spur in her shoulder making typing very painful.]

BF had an interesting spring flower blooming along with Daffodils and other spring growth. These were beautiful little bell-shaped, white flowers. She said these flowers were on her property when they moved in. The flower did not appear to be a native field flower.

When BF moved to our little town from Illinois, many natives still lived in the town and surrounding area. One such native (Mrs. HASX) lived nearby and patronized BF's beauty shop.

One spring day Mrs. X had a hair appointment. BF and Mrs. X chatted about lots of things including flowers. BF asked Mrs. X, if she knew the name of the little white flowers which were on the property when purchased and which faithfully reappear in early spring.

Now the story becomes Mrs. X's story. "Oh, those are snow lilies," she exclaimed.

As is common among farmers and gardeners, Mrs. X regaled an observation, ol' wive's tale, local tale, legend, superstition or simply a weather prediction that may be more reliable than weather forecast--but nevertheless I can attest it is true.

She said when the snow lilies bloom, it has to snow on the blooms at least one time, and then winter is over! It may only be one snowflake, but it HAS TO OCCUR!

Later BF found out snow lilies were known as Summer Snow Flakes, a slight misnomer, as there is not a bit of the snow lily left by summer.

Sunday March 21, after days of near perfect 70 degree weather, on the second day of spring with the snow lilies, a.k.a. Summer Snow Flake, in full bloom, it snowed on the snow lily, as it has every spring for the 30 years (in May) that I have lived here.

Once this yearly phenomenon occurs, it has never snowed again later in spring of that year. We await this year's prediction of spring, to see if 'history repeats itself!' Stay tuned!

When my husband, a city worker, was plowing snow, he and others, who knew of this phenomen of a harbinger of spring, cursed and threatened removal of the little charmers.

Thus I check the status of the snow lilies every spring. How can I doubt Mother Nature?

[Photo: supplied by BF, may have been taken by her husband.]


Lisa said...

That is a great story!

But, I'm not sure whether I should be happy or not that the snow lilies are there.

They are beautiful but in this economy...ARE they a good thing.

I don't husbands a plumber too and an electrician... We are not working much. I wouldn't wish this on anyone...even if means a few more weeks of snow.

lakeviewer said...

I hope they are right! Will stay tuned.

Day4plus said...

Beautiful little flower with a great history. MB

Amber Star said...

I'll be back to read your story in a bit...have doc appt. this morning, but stop by my place, please. I have tagged you for something important.

See ya later...and our Naked Ladies are growing like lillies yet.

CHERI said...

Thanks so much for leaving a comment on my blog. I've just gotten started so don't get many comments!!! Did I ever find out if you were a LUCKIE? If so, we may be kin!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Very interesting story. I don't know that I've seen Snow Lilies in these parts - perhaps because we don't (usually) get a lot of snow.

I hope these harbingers of spring are correct and that no more snow is in store for you.

NitWit1 said...

Yesterday I would swear winter was still here with the cold wind. BUT NO SNOW, just rain.

We will be traveling for next two weeks. My husband's brother-in-law entered eternity last evening.

Lorna said...

Do groundhogs eat snow lilies?

Femin Susan said...

The spring has caused an total difference in the nature. I love the photo.It has a wonderful histroy too.

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

Hey CA ! We call those Spring Bells here in the Deep South. They are usuallly the first flower to appear and "ring' in Spring! XOXO

Amber Star said...

We saw some of those flowers at our Botanic Garden yesterday. It was so windy and we were so tired from doing good deeds that we just drove through the gardens. It was very windy, and there were some brides down there to get married. I think you have to reserve the garden a year in advance. I felt sorry for them, but I'll bet they still will love their beloveds just as much and will have a great story to share with their friends and children later on.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a wonderful story!!!I so enjoyed it! And I will look forward to seeing if the snow lilies prove accurate once again!!! Seems they are better predictors than Ground Hogs...:-) Love it! Hope you have a wonderful week! Much love to you! Janine XO

Dimple said...

Thanks for a good tale. Old wives sometimes keep in mind what was important for the wise to know! (Apologies to Tolkien!)
Thanks for the visit!

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Interesting story...never heard this about the snow lilly before but makes sense.
Hope your doing well

Arkansas Patti said...

So sorry about your husband's brother-in-law. I was unaware of the reason for your trip. My condolences to you and his family.

Interesting story and always like to hear folk stories about plants or animals though I do like Carol at the Writers porch version as well. Intersting how different versions come from different parts of the country.

Sandi McBride said...

I can't believe how close to us you will be this week...we are only about 2 hours from Lake City...son and family live in Coward if you'll remember! We have those flowers here, too but they're called Snow Bells in our neck of the woods! Enjoyed the story about them.

Liz said...

They look like our snowdrops.

Good story!

Pat - Arkansas said...

A belated Happy Easter to you and Husband. - Pat

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Just checking in to see if you are about...Hope you had a wonderful Easter!!! Love you! Janine XO

Liz said...

You okay, Carol? Not heard from you for a while.

lakeviewer said...

What a beautiful story. Most of all, I liked the story of finding a hairdresser. We do get a lift when we find a good one.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Sending you much love :-) ~Janine XO