Copyright © 2023 RetirementallyChallenged.com – All rights reserved.
Tag: Southern California
In many areas of the world, changing foliage colors signal seasonal transitions. Even if we don’t experience it where we live, we’ve all seen pictures of maples, oaks, and dogwoods showing off their gorgeous autumn leaves. Although I’m happy enough not to have to deal with ice and snow, I do envy those who get to enjoy the glorious reds, oranges, and yellows that signal the coming of winter.
Here in Southern California, our autumn foliage doesn’t look that different from our summer or winter foliage, but we do get a magical burst of color this time of year. As spring transitions into early summer, the purple blossoms of the jacaranda tree begins to appear on the skyline and light up our streets. At first, just a few bell-shaped flowers dot the bare branches but, seemingly overnight, the tree’s canopy is covered in a vibrant violet-blue cloud.
Although the jacaranda is our city’s official urban tree, it is not native to our area. Originally from South America, they are said to have been introduced here in the early 20th century by the locally renowned horticulturist, Kate Sessions. Fortunately for us, our climate proved ideal for the jacaranda and it has flourished here ever since.
Jacarandas can be found all over San Diego, including downtown, La Jolla, and in Balboa Park. We are lucky to have several beautiful jacarandas on our block and, not too far away, a whole neighborhood is lined with the trees. I don’t know the history behind the mass planting, but it appears that every house on the street has at least one of the trees in its yard.
As spring warms into summer, the tree’s ephemeral blossoms start to fall, creating a lavender carpet on the lawns and sidewalks below. Pretty soon, green fern-like leaves begin to appear on the branches, and the once vibrant tree starts to blend into its surroundings again. If we are lucky, we may get a smaller bloom in the fall but, most likely, we will have to wait until the following spring, when the magic of the jacaranda tree reigns again.
Thursday Doors: Woodie Doors
Although the calendar tells us that fall began on September 22, here in coastal Southern California many of us feel that our summer has just begun. With the kids back in school, most of the tourists gone home, and the weather still sunny and warm, the locals come out to play.
One of my favorite events that signals this change in seasons is the Wavecrest Woodie Meet, which features the longest running and largest gathering of woodies in the world. Wavecrest is quintessentially Southern Californian with almost 200 woodies of every shape, size, and description on display at a beautiful location overlooking the ocean.
Woodie passenger wagons were produced from the 1910s through the early 1950s. Surfers loved them because they were relatively inexpensive to buy as used vehicles in the 1950s and 1960s. Even better, they could carry a longboard inside or on the roof. Now these beauties – especially when fully restored – are no longer cheap, so any surfboards on top are probably just for show.
As I wandered around the show this weekend, it was difficult to get the Beach Boys’ Surfin’ Safari earworm out of my head, especially the first verse:
Early in the morning we’ll be starting out
Some honeys will be coming along
We’re loading up our woodie
With our boards inside
And heading out singing our song
The woodies were buffed and polished to perfection and their doors beckoned me to get inside, start up the engine, and cruise the coastline with my honey.
Thursday Doors is a weekly feature hosted by Norm Frampton. Visit his blog to see this week’s collection, and maybe to add a few of your own.
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.
The local surfers have traded their full-length wetsuits for short-sleeved wetsuits.
Target has started to display their outdoor merchandise.
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.