Popcorn Trees & Daffodils
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.
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.
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
Then, I took a walk because nature inspires me to the bone.
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.
reverie, I’d stop beneath them, inhale the musky sweet perfume,
and watch the bees work among the cotton-candy-pink and
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.
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 . . .”
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.
write this column, beneath a powder blue sky and blossoming
plum, my computer screen is dotted with a million yellow
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.
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.
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.
the pines, alright.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 . . .
grin so widely on my bike ride home, that I have to wipe the
bugs off my teeth . . .