A cool blue evening and a rich coral sunset provide the setting for this graceful branch in “The Last of the Almond Light.”
Spring has sprung!
A few days ago, I knew that spring was really here to stay when I noticed tiny spots of young spring green on the local grapevines. But in truth, spring has been teasing us for weeks now.
It began in February with the almond trees. It wasn’t like this last year, my first in the area. Last year, the flowers began to appear in January, were quickly hit with a hard frost, and that was the end of the almond bloom. This year, the trees waited a full month longer, and wow, did they put on a show. I’ve never lived near almond trees, and I felt like a kid in a candy shop; I didn’t know which way to look, and it kept getting better. One day I was out driving, and I realized that the fields and hills were dotted with what appeared to be little puffballs, soft white with a hint of pink. Everywhere I turned, puffballs. It was the almond trees, in full bloom, and it was enchanting.
When I was in high school, one of my favorite times of the school year was Homecoming. A big dance, a football game, cheerleaders, the queen and the king, the marching band… And the parade. Every class created a float for the homecoming parade, and my class was pretty darn good at making floats. We’d get together to come up with ideas and after that we’d sketch out designs; the fun really began once we were ready to start building that float. Every year, for four years, we built our float at Cami’s house, because her family had the absolutely perfect float-building setup. For a few weeks, we’d all go there after school and on the weekends, to socialize and put things together and socialize and paint and socialize. Those were golden moments wrapped in fun and problem-solving and hard work, and I remember all of it with great fondness.
I’ve had two especially enjoyable walks lately, and I’d like to share them with you. These were walks that had not so much to do with the location, and everything to do with the people I met along the way. I do believe that a place informs its people, but today I’ll just talk about the folks I got to meet.
And I’ll pepper this post with photographs from various walks and hikes I’ve enjoyed this summer.
Let’s begin with the time I set out on a fresh morning, enjoying air that felt noticeably cooler than it had in many weeks. It was bliss. My usual walk takes me out of town past the cemetery, and on this day I passed two teenage boys walking with their grandfather. Perhaps they strolled to the cemetery? These boys are two of the nicest teenagers I’ve ever met, always stopping to say “bonjour” to me, even long before we officially met and learned each others’ names. (In this town, kids stop what they’re doing to say bonjour, which delights me to no end.) I had never before met their grandfather, but he was eager for a bonjour, too, and he commented on my “determined” gait.