Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Welcome to Northern California, the trees are blossoming and the temperatures been up to the 70s. it's spring here. But wait, it's only February, it's still winter! Hmm, Wring? Sprinter?

Growing up in New England, I always disdained the idea of living somewhere that didn't have 4 distinct seasons. While I do really miss blazing fall color and sledding with the kids on a snow day after a big storm, I've also found much to love in the subtlety of the seasons here.

Many of the CA natives I've talked to on this subject act apologetic and describe the lack of seasons as boring. True, it's not as exciting or dramatic as in other places, but if you're paying attention there's a lot to see, and it's happening all the time. Something is always budding or blooming, and when the leaves change color they do it so gradually that it lasts for months. The last trees have barely shed their leaves before some other varieties are starting to leaf out with spring growth.

New England seasons put on a dramatic show but tend to use up all of their aesthetic oomph in one intense but abrupt display. I think of them in capital letters: FALL!! SPRING!!! The seasons are like broad spashes of intensely colored paint. In contrast, California seasons are muted; drawn out and indistinct. They speak in a whisper rather than shouting. I'm happy to listen carefully.

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