"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Decoding Winter

Winter here in The Bay Area is a confusing tumble to an outsider like myself who has no cheat sheet about what in the world to expect or how one marks time or knows seasonality or understands what to plan for next. The lovely side of this phenomenon is that I am deliciously naive and unjaded about everything in the outdoor world here. I love the surprise and Dr. Suess like implausible beauty of the visual circus that is a more tropical environment. Earlier this month we were getting rain, rain, rain and lots of chilly weather that felt clammy and demanded sweaters and tea and roasts in the oven at night. Suddenly, we began to be able to tell that the temperature was rising a little and the chill was gone from the air...replaced with a few sunny days here and there.

All the dry, gold-brown hills around us have morphed to Irish green and every lawn and strip of empty earth is full of growing weeds and grasses in lush profusion. Its an amazing and beautiful thing to be in the middle of all of this green and living life in the "dead" of winter but its really incredible after the truly parched dry season. You wouldn't believe it was possible. I laughed one day when I realized that even the cracks in the highways area  bright lime green from growing grass and weeds seeds. There are vivid green seams all the way down every highway, for real.

Then suddenly, BAM! There was a shocking explosion of yellow along the roads and just like that, the bloom season began. Golden acacia trees opened overnight, covered top to toe in the most dayglo shade of highlighter yellow, all over the sides of the main throughways. I was in awe. They were fast....an ephemeral (invasive, as it turns out) pleasure. I think they were there for two or three days in a shining glow and then the yellow dulled to a dirty school bus shade and this week they are a very smudged over brownish carmel and are dropping their blooms in a powder of rusty fuzz all over the shoulder of the highway. When you get up close the blossoms look like little pom poms. Each one a miniature globular bouquet of teeny little canary colored wands. They were amazing.

Now there are plum trees blooming all through our neighborhood, and their petals are just beginning to fall. We had another fantastic rain this afternoon which will drive many of them off the trees and blow them all around the city in a pink confetti storm. The dandelions in the lawn are really revving up in front of our house, there are some species of purple bearded irises blooming all over town already and this morning I noticed that the next door neighbor's apple tree is just opening its blossoms. 

I am so confused and amazed! I have no idea what is next.....the only thing I know is that winter like this, is glorious. I'm drunk on the wonderful fragrance in the night air, the glowing warmth of sunshine and the rich feeling of growth all around me. Cali's got me where it hurts.


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