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Image courtesy of Rick Vanderpool

Image courtesy of Rick Vanderpool

Editor’s Note: Rick Vanderpool reached out to his network of friends from across Texas this past week soliciting accounts of the beauty of Spring. Rick then assembled the narrative that follows. At the end you can find a link to a set of Spring images  on Rick’s Flickr account. Many thanks to Rick Vanderpool for sharing this story with us, and also thank you to the Texas Main Street managers from the many Main Street cities across the state.     
What photographer or poet does not love spring? I certainly do. As a father I love spring doubly – it usually begins on my North Carolina daughter’s birthday. She has always inspired me nearly as much as the season.
I contacted my daughter first thing this morning and after our exchange, my next thought was to call a dear friend in Sanderson, Texas. As odd as it may seem, spring in this usually drab, imposing, out-of-the-way locale, near the Big Bend of Texas, can render it one of the most colorful places in the state. Or anywhere, for that matter. Anyone who knows where to look for cactus and other blooms of nearly every color in the rainbow would never agree with Cormac McCarthy’s description of Terrell County’s environs as No Country For Old Men.

After talking with my friend a thought occurred, is today not spring’s birthday? Then an idea came to me – why not put together a Texas-sized commemoration by inviting Texas Main Street Managers and other friends to share their impressions of March 20, 2013? I could add a few photos to the mix, post an album on Facebook and a SET on flickr, and voila, “Happy First Day of Texas Spring 2013!” A single phone call to Debra Farst (State Coordinator for Texas Main Street Program – and the whole plan was set in motion. All I had to do was wait for the emails to begin rolling in. In the meantime, I recalled other Texas springs…

Not counting numerous trips before I actually grew tired of the commute from Athens, Georgia and moved to Texas, late 1993 (Commerce/Hunt County on Dec. 29th –Texas Statehood Day), I have spent twenty springs in The Lone Star State. Twenty springs filled with Bluebonnets and countless other Texas blooms. Twenty springs with wild weather, grand views, and big skies over miles and miles of Texas. Twenty springs collecting stories, images and new friends… rdv

Dorothy Marquart in Sanderson/Terrell County – Cactus Capital of Texas
“The hummingbirds are back, spinning their nests (built with spider webs, BTW – Dorothy reminded me); the Bluebonnets are blooming between Marathon and the park (Big Bend); and of course the cactus are gorgeous everywhere…”

A friend once told me that when it came his time to go he’d like to die in the dead of winter, in West Texas. Said that was about the only time and the only place that wouldn’t make Heaven look bad by comparison… rdv

Shelly Hargrove in Georgetown/Williamson County – Red Poppy Capital of Texas –
“…come to the Georgetown Square soon! …Masonic Lodge building balcony for cocktails and food! Many projects underway, public art downtown and new Grape Creek Winery. So central and new home to Chet Garner (“Daytripper” travel show)…”

The Canada Geese are just gone from the playa in the park, and the Sandhill Cranes will be lettering the broad sky soon, heading north, signaling winter’s end;
I miss them already, their plaintive honks and chortles hardly a fair trade for the wind and red dust that is March in West Texas… rdv

Julie Glover in Denton/Denton County – Redbud Capital of Texas
“The daffodils are blooming (Redbud too), the sky is a true Texas blue, and people are milling around on the Courthouse lawn, strumming guitars, playing with their children, sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying the day…”

Jackie Mills in Salado/Bell County – Home of Salado Legends
The butterflies are fluttering
The bumblebees are humming
Cars on I-35 are a’ rumbling
Boys are a’ girling
Girls are a’ boying
Every thing is blooming (even the idiots)
Salado Legends is rehearsing
It must be SPRING in Salado!

Misty Kothe in Kerrville/Kerr County – Heart of the Texas Hill Country
“First day of Spring in Kerrville (by a self-proclaimed, ‘born and raised Kerrville girl’): The reawakening of the hills, new life visible in the trees and the livestock in the fields, with wildflowers to follow soon. The sun rises on a season of rebirth for the Heart of the Texas Hill Country…”

Bridgette Bise in Cuero/DeWitt County – Wildflower Capital of Texas
“Cuero is blooming and booming. Literally. The recent Eagle Ford Shale boom has brought new life into our downtown with new businesses opening and as the Wildflower Capital of Texas, we are starting to see the blooms of a variety of flowers all around our town…”
Blue sky and pleasant
It’s snowing pear bloom petals
None melt on my tongue… rdv

Sarah O’Brien in Nacogdoches/Nacogdoches County – Oldest Town in Texas
“Texas’ Oldest town is blooming into spring with a plethora of downtown activities planned this week. Visitors and residents will take quick notice of the beautiful blooming azaleas, dogwoods and camellias.”

Adah Leah Wolf in Farmersville/Collin County – Hometown of Audie L. Murphy
“The wind is blowing under the old Onion Shed and fields are being plowed for this season’s crops. And, thankfully, the downtown parking spaces are taken! Audie Murphy Day in Farmersville, Texas is June 22, 2013…”

Denise Miranda in Winnsboro/Wood County
“The sun is shining, birds are singing, flowers are blooming (including the dogwood) and downtown is booming!”

Texas Main Street cafes, serve loyal patrons full-up,
With good eats and friendship, by the plate, bowl or cup… rdv

Debra Thomas in Pecos/Reeves County – Home of the World’s First Rodeo
“The birds are a-twitter in the trees. It’s 8o degrees & no wind, yeah! The mesquite is not fooled by the first day of spring.”

Mandy Spikes in Waco/McLennan County – Home of Dr Pepper
“Waco & the Heart of Texas is celebrating a beautiful first day of spring. A perfect combination of blue skies and a light breeze, along with a variety of things to see and do has created a feeling of fun and excitement with those who take advantage in all that our destination has to offer.”

Derek Hall in Luling/Caldwell County – Watermelon Capital of Texas
“On the first day of spring in Luling Texas, the “Black Gold” is flowing and the watermelon seeds are now freshly planted for this year’s crop. Aged Post Oak permeates the air as it escapes the smokestacks of one of the most renowned Pit BBQ joints in the country, while the spring rains are readying our river for adventure loving kayakers to make their pilgrimages.”

Lenny Brown in LaGrange/Fayette County – Hometown Texas and
“As the rolling vistas open the gaze upon the wooded and rivered landscape in this springtime, upper coastal prairie, the layers of fresh green are sweetly dotted with pastel pallets of wildflowers. Monarch butterflies and tiny migratory song birds busy through it awakening new life as the courtships begin. Safe havens along wooded creeks are providing a quiet habitat as a nursery for families of coyote, deer, raccoon and others who dare to travel by the night’s bright moon and abundant star light…in Texas’s own Fayette County. Come enjoy our very own Texas Quilt Museum –

Who was it that said, “Spring makes me think of lots of cool titles for songs that I’ll write later, when I’m cold and hungry, lonely and broke, or lost and far from home…”? rdv

Sam Fenstermacher in Cleburne/Johnson County – Texas places worth the drive – The Road Trip Destination Guide
“I will share with you that on the first day of Spring I visited Cleburne State Park. I walked up the Spillway Trail, and as I arrived at the lake I was greeted by a wonderful harmony of fragrances in the air. Spring is upon us.
Cool mornings and sunny afternoons,
the fragrance of fresh blossoms in the air,
wildflowers awakening from their winter slumber,
the season of renewal and rebirth is upon us.”

Charlotte Heald in Hillsboro/Hill County – Brimming with Central Texas Culture and History – and
“A light green hue is taking over on lawns while bright whites, pinks, and yellow blossoms pop out on trees heralding the arrival of spring throughout Hillsboro. Historical Markers prominently stand out on buildings beckoning visitors to come, see, and discover their rich history! Downtown store windows are now adorned in their spring attire to welcome visitors with small town hospitality and charm.”

Lynette Pettigrew in Gainesville/Cook County – The Star of North Texas and
“By the way it’s a beautiful day in Gainesville, but then it always is.”

Beth Duke in Amarillo/Potter County – Step Into The Real Texas… and
“Jonquils and Bradford Pear trees signal the arrival of spring in Center City. Among the downtown landmarks are the distinctive Center City Hoof Prints of the Great American Quarter Horses that dot the historic downtown Main Street of Amarillo.”

About time to move the long-sleeved shirts to the back of my closet. And to mark the event, a t-shirt haiku:

Words across my chest
Recall places and routes traced
I’m twice comforted… rdv

Debra Drescher Farst in Austin/Travis County – real places telling real stories
“Doesn’t seem right to be spending the first day of spring indoors at work, but I am… On my first day of spring, I was greeted just about sunrise on my way into the office by something that inspires me every day. On my drive into downtown Austin, I come over a hill and just ahead waiting there for me every day is the Capitol dome on the horizon with the Goddess of Liberty reaching into the sky. Sometimes the sun is just rising over them; sometimes they are cloaked in clouds. Every day, and the first day of spring is no different, that view takes my breath away.”

Rick Vanderpool in Lubbock/Lubbock County – The Hub City
“I spent the first day of spring 2013 at Groves Library, communicating with all the above folks who proudly shared a small vignette of their lovely Texas Main Street communities. I am proud to say that I have visited every one of these places, but not for spring in each one. Thanks to all y’all, now I have…”

Check out a bunch of Texas spring Main Street photos here: