A few days ago I was riding around town, taking advantage of a sunny day (a sparse occurrence after months of rain). I thought it was now or never, as rain is forecast for days ahead yet once again. The reward was bountiful: yellow acacia blossoms in full bloom, the bright “here I am” pink of the plum blossoms (which don’t last very long, so you have to pay attention), a few magnolias in their pink and white dresses, and the snow-white blossoms of trees whose species escapes my knowledge. How grateful I am to live in California.
Sure enough: foreboding, dark and ominous clouds the next day, and a wind just whipping through the trees and playing havoc with the water down at the pier: seagulls bobbing up and down on the waves the wind was stirring, seeming to cherish the motion; a flock of pigeons stirred up by a four-footed miscreant doing their aerial acrobatics in formation to move to a safe distance from the disturbance; sandpipers scurrying along on the island where normally the pelicans reside. Brisk chilly air that made you feel alive.
It’s been a joy to finally see the rain during the past few weeks. The gray hills that looked so barren a month ago, are a lush bright green once again, as the sun kisses them, waking up the orange poppies to new life. It never ceases to amaze me, just how quickly this change happens after just a few heavy rains. Although I was able to capture some of the beautiful green hills in my photography (http://mleuephoto.wordpress.com/), the smell in the air just can’t be done justice to in a photo.
Speaking of green: my cat Calvin was sitting in my office window this morning — making sure that the gardener visible in the distance was doing a good job of cutting the grass (Calvin really does have a very nice vantage point on the window sill — one that he frequents often). Taking a cue from the feline supervisor, I decide on a walk, which leads me by the “supervised” lawn, which is trimmed to British standards (although a Brit might object to my hasty comparison). There is nothing like the smell of freshly cut grass — I stop to breathe in deeply. In the distance I see pink and white blossom filled trees competing with each other — or perhaps a better word would be complementing each other. I just love spring.
Doing my feeding duty to stock up on cat food for my “Haustier” (translated from German that means house, or domestic animal), and replenishing a bag of bird seed as well, I wandered into an unknown aisle on my way to the pet supply store cashier, and came upon “Lizard Litter” — prompting a loud laugh at the sight. What will they think of next? I have been the reluctant recipient of various sections of lizard in the summertime before, proudly brought home by my cat Calvin — for which I praised him of course, as it was a present — but then disposed of right away, sometimes helping a tailless, but happy and relieved lizard regain his outdoor status. To keep them as “pets” seems against nature to me, but to actually sell lizard litter — absurd. What’s next, toilet paper and air freshener? I can’t make heads or tails of this matter.
A recent wave of warm weather, has caused the elms in my neighbors’ yard to sprout fresh green leaves, while at the same time dropping their blossoms. When a sudden wind gust comes up, it looks like it is snowing, as the little petals dance and drift through the air.
Many red flowers are blooming now, and this has attracted quite a few hummingbirds — my favorite birds. Sometimes they fight and chase each other at breathtaking speeds, all the while chirping at the top of their voice. God’s most delicate bird. One erred into my loft just last week, but got out by himself. I have had to help a few baby hummingbirds over the years, who would fly against the window, unable to find their way out. It is a miracle to hold something so soft and delicate in your hands. The hummingbird you see here, I carved and painted on a ceramic tile.
May red flowers and hummingbirds brighten your week, and don’t step in any lizard litter.
There are some trees that grow in my neighbors’ yard, that are rather peculiar. I keep forgetting their name and wrongly identifying them as beech trees. It just so happens, that from now on, I won’t forget their name anymore. The mystery was solved at Calvin’s birthday party (who by the way turned 4 and was the recipient of a much appreciated can of tuna fish). My neighbor Bill mentioned to me at Calvin’s party, that he had his gardeners over one time, and pointed out that the trees in question, were sending out lots and lots of side shoots. He thought the trees were over-“elming” and needed to be pruned back. So, without further ado, here is another observation about the now properly identified elm trees: they bloom very late in Spring, and from a distance it looks like the trees are getting leaves, when in fact they are blossoms. The leaves come in even later, once the blossoms have dropped. The blossoms are also a favorite treat of the neighborhood squirrels. This morning, while I was sitting outside, drinking a cup of coffee, I saw two of them in the trees, which I would guess are a good 40 to 50 feet tall. One squirrel, of pleasantly plump appearance, was comfortably seated near the top of the tree, stuffing himself full of blossoms to his hearts’ content. The other squirrel couldn’t make up its mind, and first kept looking in all directions, and then started tip-toeing to the outermost end of a branch, which was getting thinner and thinner as it proceeded, and then was put into motion by the weight of Ms. indecisive. A hasty retreat ensued, as a catapult type action was imminent. The squirrel then finally settled on another branch and started eating blossoms too. The scene reminded me of a kid in a candy store.