Pat Shingleton: "Acorns, Azaleas, Figs, Love Bugs and Candles..."
I noticed last March, prior to the postponed "St. Patrick's Day Parade, The Wearin' of the Green," that our seasonal Azaleas did not bloom in comparison to other years. I've also noticed that many of the fig trees seem to be less full as in other years. During another recent exercise routine in our neighborhood, many streets, lined with oak trees, were delayed in dropping acorns and the love bugs and whooly worms are yet to be discovered. In my younger years and in our backyard in Pennsylvania, the butternut trees were ready for collection in mid September. My mom would encourage us to collect the nuts with gloves, placing them in baskets for storage in the basement. The nuts were excellent in her Christmas cookies. Why the gloves? The residue from the butternuts left a stain on your hands that was hard to remove. Nine years ago, Hurricanes Igor and Julia reached Category 4 status, marking the first time since September 16, 1926 that two Category 4 hurricanes existed in the Atlantic at the same time for only 6 hours. September 16, 1999, was a day of unprecedented devastation for North Carolina. Similar to Sandy's devastating floods in Northwest Florida, Hurricane Floyd unloaded 20 inches of rain, causing flooding never before experienced in the Carolina’s. Sewage flowing down Cape Fear River stretched 50 miles past Wilmington and 20 miles into the Atlantic. Municipal treatment plants overflowed with fears of environmental disasters from gas station chemicals, factories spewing chromium along with mercury, hog and chicken waste. Since 1999, nature has intervened as eco-systems were surprisingly flushed free. In closing, the candle still plays a symbolic and significant role in our lives. Whether it is the positioning of candles on the birthday cake or candles on the dinner table, they provide an ongoing source of light. Candles also enhance marriage and religious ceremonies. In times past and during power outages, the candle assisted the flashlight in providing some light in the dark of the night as scented candles remain very popular. At area churches, assistants provide a valuable service of replacing used candles. It seems that when storms threaten the Louisiana coast, sometimes bound for Baton Rouge, Lafayette or New Orleans, parishioners will “borrow” candles from the church. The “borrowing” of the votive candles is apparently a time-honored tradition all along the Gulf Coast against threatening storms.
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