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Forward and backward, a number sequence with a rhythm to catch one for a moment and allow silliness.

poppy loneAs if in a race to beauty, spring is blooming and leafing with a manic madness.

It is futile to resist the glorious days, even as we fervently pit hope against likelihood for more rain and a kind extension of late winter grayness and moisture.

The bright gold poppies, everywhere, it seems, demand a smile at their simple and perfect elegance. Even if seeds were deliberately sown, the poppy optimism spreads, feathering leaves flicker on dry hillsides and sidewalk strips next to pavement, green meridians of residential neighborhoods and highway dividers from the cliffs near the ocean to foothills in the Sierras.

iris wildIn scrubby rubble and weeds along coastal hillside roads we find wild irises hiding in plain sight.  Their parchment petals with delicate purple veins and minimalist spoons look almost as if they were spent blooms if you drove past them.  On foot, you realize their gentle dignity in such un-showy circumstances, Their open center bursts with a quiet joy, that tugs at my heart more than fancy cultivated versions, They naturalize, in small colonies returning each year though not dominating their territory – as if taking only as much space as they need, no more; a plant with non-expansionist, sustainable attitude.

leafingNative and introduced species burst into green side by side – oaks, maples, sun seekers.

sunview mapleSeed propellers of Japanese maple begin to appear. This tree, long having burst through the half-wine barrel it was planted in, was a seedling volunteer in a tiny pot once, gathered from the backyard of my childhood home.

poppy hillIn my rocky soil home now, with a scant dusting of topsoil, poppies are trying to brighten the bleak gopher-sculpted ridge top.  Spring waits for no formal invitation. It just blooms in line for your attention, knowing that to resist is a hopeless path. Their glory will not be denied.

iris2

filtered hillEven in coastal California, where some folks might claim our mild climate means our seasons are not distinct, the nuance of change is very much here. It is not the same all the year. We take the mostly comfortable temperate clime as a misleading clue. Although the wardrobe changes are minor, the visual embrace does follow a cycle. Maybe the pace varies, but the course is steady.

Spring insists on getting your attention and taking you out of your own head. It demands a direct line to the heart

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