Dear April in North Carolina

Dear April in North Carolina,

Please make up your mind. Winter. Spring. Winter. Pollen. Summer. Spring. Pollen. Winter. Extra thick pollen. Rain. Mud. Blooms. Sleet. Snow. More pollen.

Sincerely,
Me

I was talking with a friend on the phone yesterday. She lives in the mountains and was bemoaning the (seemingly) endless winter there. “I mean, I haven’t even seen a single dandelion yet!” She gasped later on in our conversation when she looked out the window and did in fact spy those yellow flowers poking up from the ground.

I love being back here for spring, but the weather of late has me agreeing more with T.S. Eliot than with Chaucer: April can be the cruelest month. There was definitely more cruelty than sweetness about the pouring rain, plunging temperatures, and wind on Saturday, when a few hundred runners, spectators, and volunteers gathered at Umstead State Park for the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run.

Friends and family sheltered by one of the aid stations waiting for their runners to pass by.

The creek flowing under the bridge rose in the pouring rain, covering gravel “islands” and tree stumps that just the day before had poked up over the top of the water.  Continue reading

A love letter to my hometown, part 3

Dear Raleigh,

I took off from the airport Monday morning and was reminded of why your nickname is “the City of Oaks.” Green was everywhere. Trees are the finery in which you choose to clothe yourself.

Thank you for creating such a beautiful space for your citizens and guests to enjoy.

Trees line your streets:

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A busy street made beautiful by trees blooming in spring

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Trees provide shade along the parade route for the St. Patrick’s Day parade (which is another event I love you for hosting).

Trees give shelter and shade along your many running trails and in your beautiful parks:

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At Umstead. I know, I know, it’s a state park, but it’s still attached to Raleigh. And it’s beautiful any time of year.

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Some tree roots I pass by almost daily … thanks for creating so many trails and saving green spaces.

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Fred Fletcher park, a lovely place to walk or sit and enjoy Raleigh’s natural beauty

Speaking of trees’ beauty, the art museum has fabulous grounds (and a running trail runs through it—the property, not the building).

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Manmade art framing a beautiful tree

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More art, beautiful fall trees

Trees live at the heart of my favorite place to visit in Raleigh: NC State’s JC Raulston Arboretum.

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So thank you, Raleigh, for the trees. I hope you’ll keep fighting the good fight with the state to turn the Dorothea Dix property into a city park. Your efforts make me love you even more.

Best,
One of your native daughters

PS – My new city is trying to win my heart, too. When I called to set up my utilities, they said I qualified for their tree program and could get up to 12 free shade trees. One whole dozen. So, Raleigh, you may need to step up your game and see if Duke Energy or one of the other utility companies would provide such a beautiful offer to your residents.