And Yet–

I named this blog aptly: the rain has pattered on my roof for two days now, despite the calendar flipped open to May. They say it’s one of the wettest years on record*. And I am surviving. Because…

Spring here is a nature-lover’s orgy. The earth and treetops sprout something new everyday. Hell–I even sprouted something! A month ago, I planted these dark germs of onion.

Now, sprigs of rainbow chard, baby leaf lettuce, sweet onion and purple dragon carrot soak in sunlight from the kitchen sill. And the glory of being outside! Yes, the rain has muddied the ground and my runners.

But! The trees–cherry, plum, dogwood, magnolia–firework into the sky.

There’s a dusting of penny-sized petals scattered about the ground, the shedding of spring’s first skin. I can almost see the trees shake like my thoroughbred, Echo, when he gets up from a roll, delicate plum petals floating through that almost warm May air.

And speaking of that California transplant, I’ve never seen the bitter dandelion devoured with such gusto. Each bite, the decapitation of a fistful of yellow heads.

One man's weed is another pony's...

There’s something about seeing spring from the underbelly of a trusty, old friend. Perhaps it’s the swish of the tail, the throw of the shadow?

The dirty little secrets pressed into the cold winter earth have rocketed from the loam. Here in our little valley, carpets of daffodils and then tulips and finally irises parade across once barren farm land. It’s a show rivaling Holland’s best: tractors and preened buds, rows and rows of scarlet and salmon and tangerine and plum so dark it’s kissed with black, all set against snow-capped mountains and dilapidated barns. It makes me giggle a bit–just a year ago, I stood in these same muddy fields, imagining how lovely it would be to have this as my backyard.  A few packed boxes, a few miles on I-5, a few lonely nights and VOILA! Home, sweet, glorious home.

Monet or Renior might have worn boots like these to tromp through these fields to paint in this northerly light; this light that grows by three minutes–three minutes a day. Light that hooks and catches, weaves and crochets its way across the islands and hills and mountains. The azelas, rhodenderons, hycainths, lupines, and magnolias lap up the sun, open themselves unto it as though they are old lovers engaging in familiar foreplay. There aren’t enough commas or lists to describe what’s happening here. The starlings zipping across the sky, the toads croaking a swampy pond song, the deer scavenging for first shoots.

When I first moved up here, my landlady, also from SoCal, said, “One gorgeous day up here is worth a whole summer in San Diego.” I had nodded in agreement, in partial, ignorant understanding. But this sign captures it all:

There’s a fervor here. An undeniable frenzy that occurs when the flowers pop and the sun shines. The trails are dotted with bodies and the stores sell out of sunblock and picnic blankets like San Diego sells out of sand bags and umbrellas. Finally, I understand the allure of cream-colored, not almond colored skin. I get why Ra existed for indigenous peoples. I understand, for the first time in thirty-one years, why spring indicates both a time of year and a forward-moving action. It’s times like these that I can’t help but bound ahead, leaping across puddles and winter coats and dark days. It’s not just the flora that booms here, but people too.

*The rainfall measured in Mount Vernon through the end of December, was 74.33 inches. It is 7.59 inches greater than the annual record of 66.74 set in 2000. The average year-to-date rainfall amount for December is 47.32 inches (Mount Vernon Optic Herald).

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