April 1st, 2007

sutter_buttes_scene

Springy

For a while Sunday was a gray day that looked as though it might bring a bit of welcome rain, but afternoon turned sunny and depressing (because the Sierra snow pack is now down to about half of normal for the time of year—warm March actually melted about ten inches from it.) The lilies are beginning to bloom, and their vivid whiteness always seems jarring to me when they are struck by the bright sunlight. I much prefer them on gray days. Loads of other flowers are also blooming, most of them a bit earlier than usual. The azaleas, both white and red, are in full bloom, but they are in shade most of the day and thus seldom glare the way the lilies do. The camellias have passed their prime, but quite a few still cling to the bushes.

The dandelions are everywhere, too, but ready to spew their seeds. It seems they spent barely any time in their yellow stage this year. Why are they in such a rush? My favorite flowers of them moment, though, are those the pink dogwood is beginning to put out. The first several days of their blossoming, the tree is like a Japanese painting come to life, with sprays of pale pink—almost mauve, in fact—on dark branches displayed against a backdrop of light blue or cloudy sky. A few days hence the mass of blossoms will be so thick that almost no sky will show through. That's a nice scene, too, but lacking the subtlety and complexity of composition the tree's current state affords.

I'll have to admit to having enjoyed the day despite its failure to bring even a brief shower. Maybe the pollen, in addition to making me sneeze and provoking my nostalgia, contains some sort of psychoactive substance that induces a feeling of mild euphoria. I wouldn't be surprised. Mom nature is, after all, a notorious dealer in drugs of various sorts. There are some who'd love to bust her. But I won't narc on her. Whatever is in the air right now, the effects are worth a few sneezes and watery eyes.

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