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Creative thinking: Spring is a blessed time in Macon

Just the other day, I was talking with a friend who lives up north. I was catching up with her to see how things were going in her part of the country. We talked about the usual things, such as how we were doing and what we had been up to. And, just like with most conversations, we ended up discussing the weather.

She told me where she lived they had a very cold winter, and looking out her window, all she could see was a dismal grey sky and a lifeless landscape. As I listened to her, I glanced out of my window to see a beautiful blue sky, azaleas beginning to blossom and buds on the flowering trees beginning to pop. For a moment, I considered not even mentioning the view from my window to her, but then I thought better of it. Why should I not rejoice in the beauty with which we are blessed? Why should I not share the view from my window?

No matter how old I get, I’m still amazed and delighted by springtime. I love all the seasons, but I have a special bond with spring. Spring and I are pretty tight. The only issue I have with it is the pollen it brings, but even though it sends my allergies and sinuses into a major tailspin, it is still well worth it because of the beauty that comes with it.

I think one of the reasons I like spring so much is because it represents a new beginning to me. Anytime I feel a little depressed or get frustrated or stuck in a rut, I always remember springtime. If we look to nature, it will guide us in life. Nature sets a perfect example. Just when we think we can’t bear another day of winter, something magical happens. All the flowers, grass and trees wake up from their long naps and begin to shine and, in doing so, send us a message of hope.

Thinking of all that makes up spring reinforces hope at those times when I need it most. Like watching the rays of daybreak rising and never giving up until they completely push darkness away, nature teaches us a very important lesson in patience. Don’t sweat the winters. Springtime will soon arrive. And, just like clockwork, it always does.

In Macon, spring doesn’t just arrive. In high style, it sashays in -- forming beautiful pink clouds that overtake our city, accompanied by the music of chirping birds, buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies. All the cherry trees that have been without leaves and blooms all winter finally decide they are ready to emerge. And when they do, we are the fortunate ones to be living among them.

I think sometimes we take for granted all the beauty that surrounds us in Middle Georgia. However, the Cherry Blossom Festival celebration reminds us each year. People come from everywhere just to see the show that nature puts on for us every spring. They travel for miles and miles to see what we see every day through our windows. And with all the wonderful events that go along with the festival, it is not to be missed. This year especially.

Our annual Cherry Blossom Festival is having a special birthday this year. It will be turning 30 years old. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it. It seems like just yesterday that it began. I have been very fortunate to have been involved almost every year. I was reminded of that fact recently when I set my dining room table with some of the festival plates I designed over the years. As I opened the cabinet in our dining room where I store them, I was astonished when I realized that I had designed a total of eight different plates. Where had the years gone?

I’m also excited that my wife, Debra, and I have once again organized the Cherry Blossom Fashion Show and Pink Champagne Brunch. This year, in celebration of the 30th year of our festival, we are calling it “Diamonds and Pearls, Blossoms and Twirls!” I will be the emcee. If you have not already purchased your tickets, you need to do so. You will not want to miss this exciting show. In it, we will be taking a look back at some of the ball gowns that were worn in previous years as well as all kinds of wonderful current fashions from stores here in Macon.

Plus, I’ll have all my new spring merchandise at the Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts show on the last weekend of the festival.

So, as you can tell, I’m excited that spring has sprung. I’m getting into the pink and think you should as well. Nature is telling us to by surrounding us with a new and beautiful beginning. We should seize and celebrate this special moment in time, because not everyone has the opportunity. Just think of my northern friend. While we’re looking at all the pink cherry blossoms that surround us, she will still be in winter. We should give thanks for what we have. We, as a city, are indeed blessed.

More with Mark

See gorgeous spring fashions as Mark emcees the Cherry Blossom Fashion Show and Pink Champagne Brunch at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Goodwill Conference Center. Tickets are $35. Call 301-5470.

Mark will be at the 42nd annual Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts Festival on March 24-25. Join him and hundreds of other artists and crafters as they sell their wares. Free to the public.

Check out Mark’s website,, for current projects, recipes and lots of other fun stuff including all his merchandise. Mark’s new spring/cherry blossom design is featured.

Mark is on 24 hours a day. Videos, columns and articles are featured.

Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; fax them to (478) 474-4930; call (478) 757-6877; e-mail to; or subscribe to Mark’s page on Facebook.