Springtime in Southwest Florida is subtle and beautiful. It is a time of rebirth and change. The new, fluorescent green leaves on the cypress trees are the first to announce its arrival, followed by the persimmon and mulberry trees, which seemingly transform overnight from dead brown sticks to lush bright green foliage. The fragrant scent of orange blossoms fills the air as one crop of Citrus ends and another begins with the appearance of beautiful and delicate flowers.
Despite the lack of rain, everything (well… except the grass on the side of the road) seems to magically come back to life. In Southwest Florida, the “April showers” that would bring “May flowers” elsewhere, are typically non-existent. But the wildflowers arrive just the same. Some of them are small, delicate and found in areas that normally go untraveled or unnoticed. But they are beautiful. You just have to look in the right place.
It is also a season of new beginnings. For those of us that call Bonita Springs home, April is when we proudly commemorate the creation of our City with an annual party called “Celebrate Bonita” at beautiful Riverside Park. But spring can also bring with it wondrous personal gifts that can enrich and change our lives forever.
My twin sons were born on March 28h and my daughter was born a few years later on April 1st. (no fooling!) They are fun, intelligent, artistically gifted young adults that I am very proud of and that have become individuals that I simply love and enjoy spending time with. It was also in the first week of May that I met the person that became my best friend, wife and love of my life, Lori.
We met in the woods. (… maybe I should explain.) I have always loved to fish, camp and explore in the woods east of Bonita Springs, so when I heard that the State was going to purchase the area, I wanted to be sure that everyone’s children and grandchildren would have the same opportunity to enjoy it as I had. So, I decided to start getting involved with the CREW Land & Water Trust by attending their annual wildflower walk. When I arrived at the hiking trails, Ellen Lindblad, the executive director asked her assistant, Lori, to find out who I was and what somebody like me was doing on a wildflower walk. Well… Lori did. Obviously there is a lot more to this story, but one year later, at the next Wildflower walk, we became engaged and then one year later we were married at the very same hiking trail in the presence of two of our good friends, a minister and the watchful eye of the place that brought us together, the woods of the Corkscrew Marsh, also known as the CREW Trails.
Wildflowers in Florida can be small, delicate and found in areas that normally go untraveled or unnoticed. But they are indeed beautiful. I just had to look in the right place.