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Ventura County Perspective

Now Back for a Brief Engagement, Springtime

April 29, 2001|ROSIE LEE | Rosie Lee is a writer who lives in Westlake Village

Who says the seasons don't change in Southern California?

Well, I for one used to complain about that until I started opening my eyes and sensitivities.

Having moved here in the mid '80s, during the time of a prolonged drought, I thought that nothing ever changed weather-wise. It was hot and dry and brown, and the sun shone all the time. Coming from cooler, damper, greener New England, I never thought that I'd hear myself say, "Sun, sun go away, come again another day."

I've loved this winter, with all the cold weather and many rainstorms. I've burned all my wood and worn my leather jacket and boots for months on end. Now we are in reward time. Spring is here and it's a beaut.

Since the rain resumed its intermittent visits to this parched area of the world in the early '90s, it has unveiled layers upon layers of spring--so much more than this obtuse newcomer ever noticed initially.

This year finds the season at the top of its game.

If I never get out of my car, I can see it along the Ventura Freeway with the white, orange, yellow, blue and purple flowers bursting out of the incandescent fresh green hills and roadside gardens.

Coming down Lynn Road with the rugged deep blue ridge of Bony Mountain behind, the pink and white flowering trees line the cultivated streets of Newbury Park as I gaze across the upper Conejo Valley to the eastern mountainous horizon that fades in shadowy folds into the distance. It is a magnificent moment for this county of ours.

Driving over Kanan Road into Malibu, I see the fibrous yellow plants that grow at near right angles out of the rocky dirt-packed slopes and erotically shaped purple ones elbowing their way toward the sun among the sturdy chaparral.

Near Zuma Beach, the fanciful fuchsia-colored, low-profile shrubs at the sandy shore accent the usually arid landscape. As I drive north, the willowy yellow mustard plants splash their delicate beauty across the foothills.

Yes, spring is here. Put down the cell phone, turn off the computer, leave work early, go in late--let's catch it while we can. The run for this original show is brief.

If I get out of my car and head into the hills, I discover untamed wild and wondrous new growth up in the high meadows off Decker Canyon.

If I venture out to Joshua Tree, I'll see the desert floor alive with a soft yellow weedy bloom that in other climates might seem insignificant, but there, under the harshness of the relentless sun, it is one of the many miracles of life. Lying dormant until the rain comes to wake the landscape up, the tough spiky cactus bear flowers only the creator in the wildest of imaginations could conceive.

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Closer to home, on a late afternoon walk, I stop to look at the sun lingering over the western sky, casting a brilliant golden backlight across the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Pricey homes adorn the once natural and unfettered mountain-scape with their terra-cotta roofs and pale walls catching the glow as if on cue.

The smell of jasmine and honeysuckle cause me to take a deep breath and impress me with the quality of their domesticated contribution to the ambience of this animated time of year.

So many great things go unnoticed. What is happening outside right now is but one of the many gifts life has to offer. It's a reminder of the mighty power of existence and its ability to transform the seed into the flower.

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