The springing of spring

I still can’t quite get used to how early spring arrives here. Record rains have brought a lot of green, and now that the days are getting noticeably longer (hallelujah!), trees are beginning to bud.

The rain has kept me cooped up inside more than I’d like these last two months, but as a friend pointed out yesterday, dreary weather gives us a good reason to get indoor projects done. She’s right, but I’m ready for spring, ready for beautiful days, ready for the earth to reawaken. As a writer, I spend enough time inside. The runner/ hiker/ gardener/ photographer in me is ready for friendly outdoor weather.

Whether you live here or somewhere still buried under blankets of snow, I hope you enjoy these signs of the coming spring.

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A plumcot tree in my back yard. I’m hopeful the rainy winter will mean more fruit this year.

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A tulip magnolia prepares to bloom in my yard.

My dad sent me a beautiful photograph a few days ago of the tulip magnolia in my parents’ yard. It’s already fully open, and my guess is—even though winter isn’t over where they live—they’ve had some warmer days than we have here.

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A critter makes friends with the tulip magnolia.

Because of flooding and park closures, I’ve explored some of the open state parks near me. There’s a small tree (more of a shrub, really, because it lacks a single trunk) that has interesting sprouts on it. I have no idea what it is. I’m hoping one of you will know and tell me its name.

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Early blooming tree (really no more than a shrub)

Trying to identify this plant reminds me of my high school English teaching days, when students would get frustrated with me for making them look up words in the dictionary they didn’t know how to spell. “How am I supposed to look it up if I don’t know how to spell it?” they said. It was a fair point, but I made them look up the words anyway. Googling a plant to identify it is much harder (and often less successful) than using a dictionary for an unknown word spelling.

Google was more helpful with this manzanita tree:

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A shower of Manzanita blooms

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The first tree I found in bloom this season

There’s a promise of more rain, and as I write these words, the skies are graying up again. The rain represents answered prayer but is also a case of too much of a good thing. With flooding, mudslides, and stresses on levees and dams in Northern California, I would welcome more breaks in the rain. I know our rainy season will end, though, and then I’ll regret wishing away the clouds. For now, I must make hay while the sun shines (or at least walk the dog while the sun shines).

Are you seeing signs of spring where you live? What are your favorites?

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