GratiTuesday: The signs of spring

The arrival of spring in Southern California can be very subtle. Those of you who have been (or still are) buried under piles of snow probably scoff at what we consider winter (I know it’s true… I can hear you scoffing). Yes, we had some rain. Yes, we even had some flooding in some areas. But, A) we were whining about being in a drought just last year, B) we don’t have to shovel rain, and C) having to replace our wiper blades is not the same as changing to snow tires.

Some people claim that we don’t have “real” seasons here, but those of us who have lived here for a while know that isn’t true. You just need to look a little closer for the signs. I wrote about the desert wild flower super bloom last week, but there are plenty of indications of spring closer to home.

Photo credit: my talented friend, Mitch Mitchell

The local surfers have traded their full-length wetsuits for short-sleeved wetsuits.

Target has started to display their outdoor merchandise.

Yes, they really are that white.

Horrified that I will soon have to expose my ghost-white legs in public, I purchased my first-of-the-season tube of self-tanning lotion.

The brightly colored hooded orioles have started to arrive from their winter home in Mexico. They nest in our neighborhood palm trees and fill the air with their noisy chatter.

My blueberry bushes are showing their first buds, promising a bountiful summer crop.


As you can see, even in Southern California, the signs of spring are beginning to appear all around us, and I am so grateful that it is here.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

54 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: The signs of spring”

  1. Okay, maybe I did scoff just a little since as I look out the windows all I can see is several feet of the white stuff. If you propped those white limbs up outside here, you’d have frostbite in about 15 minutes. 🙂 Enjoy your warmer temps. I’m just jealous. 🙂

  2. Not jealous, we hardly had any Winter here in SW Virginia. Spring is showing everywhere and I love embracing my favorite season. The only downside, as you point out, is those crazy, eye blinding, white legs. Enjoy!!

    1. Summer used to be my favorite, but now fall and spring vie for my affection. The signs of the seasons changing may be subtle around here, but seeing the small differences makes me so happy. And, pretty soon, I will be able to show my legs in public.

  3. Spring announced itself with a little bit of snow here overnight, but it’s all disappearing now. I’m sure I could beat you in the white legs contest! I’m a typical peely-wally Scot (extra pale).

  4. I treat any hint of spring in these northern climes with suspicion. I know that a wintry blast is possible any time before the end of April.

    Your view of spring is looking might fine. I’m especially in awe of your blueberry bush. I’m going to have to have words with my bushes. They have never displayed such enthusiasm. I think I might have planted low achievers :/

    Enjoy the sunshine and soak up a little for me too 🙂

    1. We have neighbors down the street (same sun/shade orientation) who have had no luck with their blueberry bushes either. I have no idea why ours do so well (especially one of the three), but I’m so happy with our crop. We had to build a cage around them to keep out the birds… we didn’t like sharing.

      I don’t blame you for not trusting the weather. Especially this year, it feels like anything can happen… and probably will.

      1. Today was 12C. Tomorrow with the windchill will be -24C.
        Nope, cannot trust spring in these parts :/

        I would like to have the problem of needing cages on my blueberry bushes to discourage the birds.

  5. Sunday was spring where I live. Monday was damp and chilly. By the end of the week, the forecast is for snow to recover at least some of the brown grass. But the robins are back! And in the middle of the night, when I take my puppy out, the air feels milder. And with the time change it stays lighter later. I do wish I had many of your signs of spring, Janis (blueberry bush envy), but like you, I’m just ecstatically happy that spring is sort of here.

    1. We had a lovely weekend and now we are back to gloomy too. I guess it will be another couple of weeks before spring really settles in and behaves itself. I have my fingers crossed that we don’t get a big wind so the blossoms stay on the bushes as long as they need to. How is Shylah doing?

  6. I love your signs of spring, especially the birds and the blossoms. My legs have the same white color as yours. I thought California could prevent that, but I overestimated her. We might have to go back to the tropics if we (I) want tanned skin again. As for all those people scoffing about Californian winters, what keeps them from moving here? I know, I know, people have responsibilities. I just couldn’t handle more than one winter up north. I guess the climate trumps anything else for us. 🙂

    1. Since I have naturally pale skin and have had melanoma, the closest I get to a tan is the fake kind. 🙂 I guess the seasons are unique everywhere and you get used to the good and bad wherever you are. I’m pretty sure though, at my age, I would have a hard time being happy in a colder climate. But, we give up the beautiful fall foliage that others enjoy, so there are trade offs for sure.

  7. Loved your signs of spring! It reminded me of a writing task I always assigned to my Grade Two class every spring. They were always so creative. I wish I had kept some samples!

  8. My mind knows that it’s spring here, but looking outside I see grayness and brownish plants not yet growing. That being said, I like your colorful photos that suggest a world in which spring has sprung. Thanks for sharing them.

  9. Spring has been springing here too (yippee)!! Although not near as warm as where you are…and although we have another weeks’ worth of rain predicted, our weather is now almost consistently in the double digits (10+C). Like you, I am very grateful for that!

  10. I don’t think we really had Winter here this yer. It was cold for about 8 days all total, and then only down to 14F a couple times. I imagine we will have a bumper crop of spiders and other bugs this year. Especially mosquitoes.

    1. You are the second person to say that they really didn’t have a winter. We have had such strange weather everywhere the last few years. I remember when I was growing up, mosquitoes were more of a “thing.” We don’t see them here as much anymore… which is a good things because they LOVE me.

  11. For me, it’s the forsythia in bloom that tells me it’s spring – a leftover from when I was a kid and we had a yard-full. With our super-mild winter and crazy March, my forsythia is brown from early bloom then freezing. But the daffodils are showing true fortitude. I laughed out loud about the short-sleeve wetsuits! In my neighborhood it’s the runners in shorts – a sure sign of spring which I have not seen yet. But our neighbor mowed his lawn last weekend! Ack. Another sign! Hubby has refused to do ours yet …as has anyone else on the street – so we’re not yet “that house”. (and my legs are also pale white….)

    1. We don’t have forsythia here, but I’ve seen it on my travels and it’s beautiful! I don’t blame your husband for not mowing the grass, I’d put that off as long as I could (even if we became “that house”).

  12. Yay, California spring, I mean, summer…I mean fall! Aren’t they similar? Being in Sacramento, we see many of these same subtle changes…spring buds and blooms, white legs yearning for the sun, patio furniture out and now on my deck! Your surfing one was perfect! I will really grateful when a certain tree in my front yard (and everywhere) sheds it pollen-producing pods in a few days! Aaaah-Chooo!

    1. They can be similar, but – as you know – there are subtle differences.Has the pollen been worse than normal this year, or is this an annual sneezathon for you?

      Thanks for the Facebook mention – you are very kind!

      1. Hope you didn’t mind the FB mention! Pollen is pretty strong this year, luckily only one tree bothers me and their pollen pods got washed away by the rain and the rest are drying up.

  13. Your Orioles are gorgeous! We are waiting for our Baltimore Orioles… CH has the grape jelly out for them already! The Orioles and Tanagers are definitely a sign of spring… 🙂

  14. hehehe self-tanning lotion. You are far wiser than I am. I still haven’t found the self-discipline to avoid that beginning of the season sun burn. Maybe this year…

    1. Since I try to avoid getting too much sun, self-tanning lotion is the only way I can show my legs in public without blinding poor, innocent people. Unfortunately, fake tans don’t protect against sun burns. Good luck avoiding lobster legs this year!

  15. Enjoy! I’m not ready to cede to spring yet, although my daffys are in full bloom and my maple tree is beginning to leaf out. I have new ski boots on order and I want to try them out before I put winter to bed!

    1. I hope you can use those boots this season! But, if not, they will be ready and waiting next fall/winter. The good thing about shoes is that you don’t need to worry about gaining or losing weight over the next eight or so months.

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