Tag Archives: Spring

Fall/winter ‘flora’ returns!

My memory at times fails me, particularly when I try to recall events in my life … such as when I began growing a fall/winter beard.

I started it again this year a few days before the start of autumn. The autumnal equinox came and went a few days ago and my beard already was in full — or nearly full — swing.

It will remain on my puss until the first day of spring, sometime in March.

I’ve been known to cheat on growing the thing and then shaving it off. My dear wife disliked it when I was late starting in the fall, and  she damn sure really didn’t like it when I shaved it off before the vernal equinox.

But she got over it and liked me just the same — with or without the facial flora. At least that’s what she told me.

It gets saltier each year I grow it, meaning it contains far more “salt’ than “pepper” these days.

The mustache? I started that thing when I was still in the Army. I believe it began sprouting in July 1970. I kept it for 10 years before I shaved it off in a fit of stupidity. I recall coming out of the bathroom sans ‘stashe. My sons took a look at me and started laughing. They never had seen Dad without facial hair. They kept laughing until two or three days later I decided “it’s coming back.”

Fifty-three years later, it’s still there, now accompanied by the beard that makes me proud.

As a former colleague and friend of mine, the late Claude Duncan, once told me: “You may have your share of shortcomings, but growing hair isn’t one of them.”

Favorite season has arrived

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We all have our favorite seasons.

Most folks I know usually tell me theirs is autumn. The summer has worn them out. All that heat has gotten to them. They relish the cooler temperatures that come in the fall; they even enjoy “falling back to Standard Time.”

Me? My favorite season has arrived. I love spring. Especially this year.

Spring 2021 seems to carry a special significance for me, if not for millions of others. We are emerging from a killer pandemic.

Not only that, we are emerging from a winter for the ages in North Texas. The temps plummeted to zero and lower in February. Remember that? The lights went out. So did our heat. And then our water. It was a miserable winter.

So now comes the spring. Our lawns are snapping out of dormancy. Trees are budding. The land is coming back to life.

I am a happy fellow. Spring usually brings a smile to my mug. This one makes me smile ear to ear.

Happy spring, everyone. Let’s all enjoy it … until the summer heat gets us down again!

Sounds of spring are upon us!

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

I get that it ain’t spring … just yet!

We’ve got another three weeks or so until the vernal equinox arrives, but in North Texas I am hearing the sounds of spring already.

They are?

Well, let’s see. We have birds chirping at dawn. That’s a sure sign that winter is giving way to spring.

Then there’s the sound of lawn mowers cranking up. Some of them are sputtering a bit as they get going in our Princeton neighborhood. I root for them to get going. Accordingly we hear the sound of weed whackers and the occasional child squealing as he or she speeds by on a bicycle.

This clearly is my favorite season of the year, which I have declared already on this blog. I think I’ve said it more than once, so pardon me for repeating myself. It’s the time of year when we awaken from winter slumber and the grumbling about the cold.

Our grass grows dormant. Then it — pardon the pun — springs to life.

With all the other baloney, malarkey, crapola, nonsense going on this crazy world, I just want to welcome the onset of my favorite time of the year. If only it could overshadow what awaits.

For now, I am going to enjoy the day.

Ode to spring: I'm glad it's arrived … finally

People I meet as I go through life occasionally comment on their favorite season of the year on the Texas Tundra.

Surprisingly — to me, at least — most of them seem to prefer the fall. Leaves changing colors. Our landscape brightens just a bit. The cooler days. All that stuff seems to appeal to many people.

Me, too.

But this is my favorite season of the year. Bring on the spring, man.

The terrain out there can get pretty bleak in the winter. We’ve had a good bit of snow in these parts during the winter of 2014-15. For all I know, more might be on the way. Hey, it’s only early April.

It’s the renewal aspect of the season that I find so joyous.

Those bare trees are beginning to blossom. Some of them go from naked to “fully clothed” in green seemingly overnight. That’s all right. The greenery is a sign of that spring has sprung.

It also has a good bit to do with my faith. We’re going to celebrate Easter tomorrow along with billions of other Christians around the world. We’ll go to church, listen to the pastor praise the new life that Jesus promises us. We’ll sing joyful hymns celebrating The Resurrection. We’ll have a nice dinner later in the day with family and friends.

Indeed, Easter is all about renewal and rebirth.

It’s all around us.

The signs of spring are unmistakable. They’re quite welcome in our home. Very soon, summer will arrive. Temperatures will rise and, oh yes, we’ll commence the gripes about the triple-digit heat and wish dearly for the return of autumn.

My friends and acquaintances will cherish autumn’s arrival and say, once again, how it’s their favorite season of the year.

Me? I’ll just wait for next spring.

First things first. I plan to enjoy the current spring to the max.


Giving thanks for autumn

Dear God,

You probably don’t hear this enough about this particular topic, but I want to take a moment to thank you for autumn.

Yep, it’s pretty nice in this part of the country. You didn’t bless the Texas Panhandle with a lot of scenic splendor (although Palo Duro Canyon is pretty good on the eyes), but you did give us that great big sky and those resplendent sunrises and sunsets.

You also gave us seasons, all four of ’em.

Autumn arrived a few days ago, according to the calendar, but I awoke this morning, went outside, took a whiff and thought I could smell the actual season in the air.

It’s hard to define the smell. But it’s out there.

The breeze is a bit cool and it borders on bracing.

Usually, autumn arrives with a bit of relief. Not so much this year. The summer you gave us this year didn’t produce too many “dog days,” if you know what I mean — and I know you do. We had two, maybe three days where the temperature topped 100. All in all? It was pretty nice. Our rainfall was a bit more than we’ve had in recent years and as I write this thank-you note, the High Plains are quite green considering the time of year.

Still, the season is changing and for that I am grateful. Spring remains my favorite time of the year. It brings a relief of its own. The Farmers Almanac predicts a harsher-than-normal winter here. We’re getting ready for it. Spring 2015, therefore, promises to be even more joyful than usual.

For now, though, I’ll just take in the change from summer to autumn.

Thank you for all of it.

Spring is springing forth

The long, cold winter is about to end. Spring’s official arrival isn’t set for another week.

However, I need to share what I just witnessed on a walk through the neighborhood with my bride.

I witnessed the first signs of spring. They’re showing up in people’s lawns, on the trees that are beginning to bud, if ever so imperceptibly. I’m hearing more lawnmowers roaring. I’m seeing more people out walking — just like my wife and me — with their children in strollers or their puppies on leashes.

This truly is my favorite season of the year.

Other people tell me they love autumn the most. The summer gives way to the cooling breezes, the leaves turn colors and then they fall off the trees. That’s all fine.

The leaves also die. The trees grow dormant. The grass loses its luster and it, too, goes to sleep for the winter.

Me? I am a revival sort of fellow. I like the season where Mama Nature wakes everything up.

We’ve lived on the High Plains of Texas for slightly more than 19 years now and we’ve watched these cycles play out with each passing year. This year — or maybe it’s just my imagination — it seems the Texas Tundra became barren more quickly than in many previous years. I recall around early November driving past McDonald Lake at the corner of John Stiff Memorial Park just north of our home and noticing that the grass around the lake had gone from green to brown virtually overnight.

Then I noticed everyone’s yards had done the same thing.

The cold set in. It didn’t let up. We didn’t set any low-temperature records this year, but it surely seems as though the winter clamped its grip on us early and kept it there for what seemed like forever.

Snowfall? The National Weather Service said we’ve gotten 12 inches or so this winter, down a couple of inches from normal.

It’s been dry. And cold. For a long time.

It is now giving way to that time of renewal. I saw it this afternoon on a lovely walk through the ‘hood. I’m hoping, though, we avoid one of those late-season blue northers.

I am officially ready for spring. Bring it — and some drenching rain too.