Columns/Opinion, John Samsell

Another spring is in the air

By John Samsell

Spring in Morgantown may be remembered by actions of citizens more than 25 years ago. For at least two years of plantings took place in the 1990s that should be recognized now.
One year the folks who cared about the city’s beauty at springtime planted an array of dogwoods one spring and some marigolds the next.
This year’s spring colors are even more evident, in spite of a waning winter season, with heavy rains and near record low temperatures. That doesn’t mean others have not contributed to our communities’ beauty this spring.
Our large holly tree was loaded with red berries recently. However, the waxwings made their annual visit and ate every one of those berries. They ravaged the tree and moved on. Unfortunately they didn’t stay long enough for us to enjoy their presence. At least they are well fed.
At WVU, spring occurs earlier than it once did. Most students will be gone by the time Mother’s Day arrives on May 13. We used to have a Mother’s Day Sing at the soon-to-be-razed Stansbury Hall (the Field House). Commencement followed in early June.
Still, WVU, as usual, is bursting with color for spring, thanks to the grounds crews. There’s nothing like it, a variety of flowers and plants.
The state’s highways have the usual colorful display of rosebud bushes lighting main roads with red, another sign of spring.
A less appreciative sign of spring is the debris piled against the Morgantown Lock and Dam. There may be more tree limbs this year because of the heavy rainstorms we had recently. Mudslides were part of this year’s contribution to the dam’s debris total.
The middle of the state springs up a couple of weeks earlier than we do. That is only normal, them being closer to the Equator.
Rhododendron, the state’s flower, is often shaded by woods and may bloom later than other wild flowers. Same goes for the mountain laurel. Both can be seen from highways in mountain areas.
Fruit trees are blooming about now in West Virginia. Some are in full bloom, hopefully not so early that they are subject to freeze. The freeze date is about mid-May, though it could be earlier, or later.
Mountains and valleys in West Virginia have resulted in a variety of weather patterns. In the past, it was said that highlands could result in 30 below zero readings. Even in the lowlands, at times, the temperature could top 100 degrees.
The Potomac area, east of the Alleghenies, covers 3,500 square miles. It has been labeled one of the beauty spots of the state.
In this region, some of the summers have little or no rain, while others have 43 inches of rainfall.
In mountainous areas, there can be killing frosts at any time.
The weather service says in West Virginia the sun shines about 350 days of the year. In the state, 147 days are cloudless.
One good thing about spring this year is that we don’t have to bother with changing the clock. That hour of extra sunlight was accomplished in March. Years back, we were griping that spring had sprung late because of the time change.
It was in April one year that we complained that snow still covered the ground. That doesn’t mean we wanted more of that.
“Spring is here, full of life. Ask the birds,” I wrote. “Rev up your mower. Sniff the forsythia. Put away the snow shovel. Send the winter coats to the cleaners. Put the storm windows in the basement.”
That about wraps it up for winter 2018.