Palmetto State Park flowersTwelve campgrounds, six states. March was a busy month! And it’s a challenge to choose what was best because I enjoyed so many of them so much. Galveston Beach, where I said I would happily live, didn’t even make the top three. Neither did Matagorda Bay, which was number one in February.

But March has Kolomoki Mounds. I’ve been paddling, had easy three-mile walks with Zelda, wrote outside with the dogs at my feet, climbed the mound and admired the horizon, tried to envision life as it was a thousand years ago, appreciated beautiful sunrises and sunsets… It’s a great view, a great site, a beautiful campground, even nice showers. The one thing I’m not so excited about with Kolomoki Mounds has absolutely nothing to do with the park: my allergies hit “take a pill, already” levels yesterday and so I’m kind of feeling drugged out and slow and sleepy. Which is better than yesterday’s burning eyes, itching, and congestion, but still not a thrill.

Plus, March had Arkansas and Lake Catherine. I think appreciating a place is partly based on what it is, partly on what you bring to it, and partly on when you’re there. I was in Arkansas at so the right time. There were so many incredible purple flowers. People whose gardens bordered the road had beds of irises, all in bloom, a wash of purple across the bright green of leaves and grass. In one place, wisteria was growing wild, in full bloom, and it reached high into the sky. On trees, of course, that were probably not all that grateful to have a predatory vine twenty feet up their trunks, but still, it was stunning. I was driving by and there was no place to stop so I couldn’t take a picture, but the color was so surprising that I hit the brakes hard and then had to be grateful there was no one behind me. Also lilacs (I’m pretty sure) in bloom and violets growing in the grass. And Lake Catherine is forever going to be associated for me with the sound of the laugh of the little boy in the next-door camper — that unrestrained gurgle of joy. If they hadn’t been my neighbors… well, I’d still be smiling at the memories, but it wouldn’t be the same smile.

In a different month, either of those (these?) two places could easily take the top of the list. But I’m going way back to the beginning of the month and giving the best of March 2017 to Palmetto State Park. In a month of so many good days, so much serenity and joy, the day that I spent at Palmetto still lingers in my memory as perfection. (Except for the mice. So almost perfection, I guess.) I remember it in colors of green and gold and red: the fun of exploration; the beauty of the wildflowers and the tree humming with bees; the thrill of hopping along stepping stones; the warmth of sitting in the sun with a snuggly dog in my lap; the satisfaction of writing well.

I’ve been living in Serenity for eight months now, and they’ve flown by. They’ve not been un-stressful. Things have gone wrong, it’s been a huge adjustment, and I’m still working all the time to figure out how to live more comfortably in such a small and mobile space. But March as a whole feels like the month where it all came together, where an awful lot of the time I lived in a continual state of awareness, acceptance, appreciation, and anticipation.

In other words, happiness.