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Popcorn Trees & Daffodils

Today I prayed for inspiration. My efforts to go forward with my book and speeches and workshops have been blocked by a pessimistic mind and an ennui that I have blamed on my sister’s crisis, although I know she’s not responsible.

So I prayed last night to this perfect line-up of three sister stars (could be Orion’s belt or the Kingston Trio, for all I know) to heal us and to bring me inspiration to carry on with the thing I am meant to do in this lifetime.

If you’ve been reading me, you know I have no idea to whom or what – if anything – I pray to. But, by golly, prayer works. And so, today I found myself afire with ideas for this column and the workbook I’m compiling to inspire others to “Realize Your Dreams.”
Then, I took a walk because nature inspires me to the bone.

The wind was blowing at about 40 knots so I decided to walk in the civilized residential area of Pacific Grove. I was on a blossom mission and let my feet guide me from one cherry tree to the next. I’d spy an apple or plum tree and zigzag across Pine Avenue to 17th Street, kicking up pastel blossoms, like leaves, from the gutters.

In a reverie, I’d stop beneath them, inhale the musky sweet perfume, and watch the bees work among the cotton-candy-pink and popcorn-white blossoms.

When I was a girl, we lived in the Central Valley and I adored dad’s Sunday family drives. In the spring I’d hang out the windows of our two-tone green ’57 Lincoln and point out the “popcorn trees” in the abundant orchards (that now grow housing divisions) . . .
Snapping back to the present, I rounded a corner and grew giddy. A modest but well-kept bungalow sported hundreds of buttery daffodils neatly bordering its lawn.

I was overcome with lines from Wordsworth’s poem, “Daffodils,” a poem mother delighted in my reciting as she lay dying.
“. . . Ten thousand saw I at a glance, tossing their heads in sprightly dance . . . And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils . . .”

And I had, indeed, rounded a mental corner for the day so that I could return home to my business plans.

Rant: Yellow Scourge

Yesterday I washed my white car and the minute I dried it off, it was covered with yellow talcum powder.

As I write this column, beneath a powder blue sky and blossoming plum, my computer screen is dotted with a million yellow particles.

Some say it’s the blooming acacias. Don’t believe it! There aren’t enough acacias in the entire world to cause the yellow scourge that blankets decks, lawn chairs, cars, plants, animate and inanimate objects in Monterey County in the spring.

It’s the Monterey pines unloading the powder at their fingertips. Still don’t believe me? Get up close and personal to the pine and look: it’s gathered on the clusters of the rice krispies (embryonic pine cones) that also fall at this time of year, littering our yards and gutters.

One day, from my vantage point above Del Monte Forest, I watched a hella (that’s jive talk for hellatious) wind blow a mammoth cloud of yellow over the forest below.

It’s the pines, alright.

So, PU-LEEZ! The next time I sniffle and sneeze and complain about the yellow scourge, don’t tell me the acacias are in bloom. It’s the blooming, blinking forest and one of the trade-offs for living in this forested paradise . . .

Rave: The butterflies have Returned to Washington Park

While riding my bike near Washington Park in Pacific Grove I noticed an unusual number of monarch butterflies wafting through the crystalline sky. Thus, I dropped my bike and walked into the park to further investigate.


Way back in November, I wrote about the small sanctuary they have inhabited in recent years and, woe to the world, how they had migrated out of Washington Park where, in the ‘80s, they were so thick you had to watch where you stepped. Tens of thousands of them would drop to the ground while mating, and the spectacle overhead was so intoxicating that I’d get a neck ache just watching.

Well, I need a chiropractor because THEY’RE BACK!!! Some 20,000, the docent said. And pathways are, again, roped off to keep visitors from trampling them.

Here they are, in February, hanging like heavy clusters of grapes from the limbs of the mighty Monterey pines and eucalyptus trees. Occasionally, they erupt in a display of tangerine fireworks against the blue sky, making children of us all.

They say you can’t go back. And, curmudgeon that I am, I curse that. But sometimes, in a rare quirk of nature, you can revisit the past. And every day now that I can, I return to the park to get my infusion of divinity from these dazzling, paper-thin pieces of art. Many with tattered wings, still flying hundreds of miles south to over-winter . . .

And I grin so widely on my bike ride home, that I have to wipe the bugs off my teeth . . .



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