We fled south, a long and cold winter behind us. The third long, cold winter in as many years. In the Mid-Atlantic, spring is compressed - quite literally - between the north winds and Continental Polar High of winter - like living on a cold, dry steel table, and the summer's Bermuda High, which brings with it a sea breeze, 100 degree air, and punishing humidity.
In the coastal South, it is different. Winter is fleeting, arriving in December, then giving way to late February's nor'easters and mild and wet weather. The vegetation falters, but only browns out of desperation before the first of the new year.
We arrived in Charleston to find blooming trees, spring winds, and a quickly greening salt marsh. We knew that the return north would show us the gray bark and brown fields we'd left the previous week, and we enjoyed our time. After a long winter and a sparse waterfowl season, fried quail and grits for lunch - seated outdoors, of course - seemed surreal, and I was happy.