It’s felt like spring in north Louisiana here in The Mountain State for the past seven weeks. Sure, everyone east of Dallas has dogwoods and redbuds but around Elkins both defer blooming into early May. By late May the mountain laurel gears up to peak the first week of June. The end of June and first half of July feature huge pink or white mountain rhododendron blossoms bunched by the hundreds on each bush. Then comes the wildflower season with yellow and white daisies, black-eyed Susans, and some small mysterious blue flower that seems to grow only along busy highways (we have not found it safe to snap a picture). It is a beautiful state. I do wish it didn’t rain quite so much.
Up until 2014 an Elkins July was a warm, mostly dry summer month broken up here and there with big thunderstorms. Last year was quite wet until August, then Texas came to WV. What is your theory? Is it Global Warming, El Nino, or just that more frequent El Ninos are a by-product of Global Warming?
As I write this on July 10 we await more rain. It will continue to be a fine wildflower season, if perhaps not so fine for our swimming hole guests. The river’s volume doubles or triples after a good rain making it dangerous for both children and them good ol’ boys who done had too much cerveza when they got here. That’s better than a mixed blessing — our work is reduced while our scenery is enhanced.
I’ve never visited Ireland but my Prince Valiant comic strip knowledge of the Misty Isles leads me to believe WV is America’s Ireland. This year’s WV winter was colder than theirs, this year’s Irish spring came earlier, but here we still get more hot weather. Both have rocky, barely tillable soil over ancient mountains. Ferns and cool air cover Ireland and old WV. Both are impoverished lands with all kinds of local idiosyncrasies, unique music, and here and there the authentic regional accent of a real old-timer.
Kat and I grew up in another poor state. Louisiana is so poor its illegal immigrants quickly move to Texas or Mississippi when they learn about its skin-flint social services package. Our home state is so poor some hungry cajun figured out that crawfish are edible. But West Virginia may be poorer. It’s so poor that the Elkins library makes its patrons to pay the postage on requested books. WV is so poor its cities’ revenues depend on traffic light cameras to the point that they craftily mix up the mounting positions. West Virginia’s so poor there aren’t even enough buzzards.
Still, it’s a beautiful place. And spring weather in July is … priceless.