Wednesday, March 25, 2009

There's No Place Like Home



I never "settled" all the years I lived on the west coast. Even after fifteen years in the Golden State, I still couldn't find a way to make myself feel at home there. California is so gorgeous, you would think anyone would love it. I tried so hard but was unsuccessful. The land wasn't right for me, obviously. I was unnerved by the earthquakes, the morning fogs and that sharp afternoon wind in San Francisco. I disliked the reality that I always had to have a sweatshirt or jacket because in San Francisco, it's never warm enough to go out in a teeshirt. Well, maybe three days of the year it is. I was perpetually cold in San Francisco. Also no fun was that I had no stamina for other weather conditions - visiting any place outside of California during real winters but especially during real summers, almost killed me. San Francisco turned me into a weather wimp. Isn't that sad?

I know there are seasonal shifts in California, but they were too subtle for me; I like four seriously dramatic seasons. Springtime in February always felt as wrong as the freezing cold summers in San Francisco, or the balmy days that inevitably accompanied the Christmas season. I loved California but it just didn't fit. Living there was like owning a beautiful pair of shoes you can't wear because they hurt your feet.

People who don't live here laugh at me when I say I love the weather in DC. It's not for everyone, I agree. But it would be hard to find anyone who could argue that spring in DC is anything but absolutely gorgeous.

Just this week, the pouffery has begun. Yesterday I saw so many cherry trees in bloom downtown. Mostly here on the Hill it's the pears and tulip magnolias that are pouffing, but the cherries will soon join the silly fluffy springtime fun. I'll be collecting images in the coming days and weeks that I'll publish here, documenting the breathtaking beauty of spring in this powerful, wounded, fascinating city I call home.

Happy spring, and L'chaim. Oh yeah!

34 comments:

tam said...

Aaah, wonderful! Here the trees are starting to undress, slowly. The air has turned nippy.

And maybe Cape Town did for me what San Fran did for you. Yes! Its a beautiful, breathtaking place. But that wind drove me mad. Seriously ruffled my feathers.
Enjoy the blossoms. Looks heavenly.

Steve said...

I agree, Reya -- D.C. in the spring is magnificent. I've only been to San Francisco once, but I was cold too -- and that was in June!

sciencegirl said...

Even in Southern California there are pockets on the coast that stay chilled well into the summer. There are days the fog is so thick in Marina Del Rey you can barely see across the street.
I came across a website a while ago about where to go for free fruit in Berkeley - fruit from public trees and abandoned yards that people visit regularly to harvest. I'm wondering now about all those cherry trees in DC. Who eats the cherries? Do people go out and pick them by the bushelful? Do you need a permit or something for that, or is it simply forbidden?

Lisa said...

i love home- its where the hounds are and my books--bliss xx

mary said...

Your photos are so beautiful! I just love and love. I did 35 years in So Cal.....there were some good years but I am happy to be back in the Wisconsin countryside. ENJOY your amazing Spring

deborah said...

I LOVE Midwest weather and people do more than laugh at me. . .

love you so

It's Just Me said...

beautiful. We are suppose to be getting a blizzard - March in Minnesota - you crave Spring but know it is when the majority of snow falls.... sigh

thank you for the lovely pics and the bright spot in my morn'

the one time I was in DC the trees were in bloom and I was in awe!

Coming in from Tangobaby's blog - thanks for the dance around yours

janis said...

Ohh! Yes so pretty!
I love spring! When the trees are budding and the lovely daffodils, Iris',tulips, and crocus' start to bloom. Indy is pretty in the spring, although we are more famous for our gorgeous fall colors.
Our weather is constantly changing here. Nice one minute, rainy the next. We have had very few earthquakes, but many tornadoes. I like it here, but if I had a choice I would move to Sedona Arizona or San Antonio, Texas. Maybe someday.

blonderthanyou said...

HA! i looove it!!...my friends in San Fran are always saying "our weather is soo great" and i alwasy think..ummm no..it kinda sucks & makes my hair frizzy! ...lol
xoxo

Fire Byrd said...

Compared to Britain, San fransisco was a joy weather wise when I spent a summer there one time.
Trouble with the east coast is the extremes of weather which I don't like, But I guess that explains why I'm here and not living in Philly.

John Hayes said...

I think the point is there are places where we feel one with the environment & others where we don't. I actually did feel that way in San Francisco & loved many of the things about the climate that you mentioned-- there's no right or wrong in that, just difference in temperaments. Loved the fog actually, & didn't mind the cool summers-- earthquakes another story; I was there in 89, & that still haunts a bit. I agree that DC is gorgeous in the spring; on the other hand, while I liked Charlottesville a lot (& recently have thought a lot about spring there), DC overall never "too" with me.

Thanks for the interesting topic.

Tessa said...

Oh my goodness, what blowsy blossoms. How heavenly they look against that bluest of blue skies. Yes, I do see what you mean. The real springing of spring in DC. (My daughter lived on the hill for a year after Uni and loved every moment and, like you, each season too.)

Reya Mellicker said...

John - yes, that's how I feel, that certain landscapes make sense underfoot while others just never click, or "take" as you say.

I, too, was there in 1989 and wow - that experience sealed my dislike for earthquakes.

Blonder than you? We are on a wavelength, oh yeah. LOVE that.

Reya Mellicker said...

Science Girl - The cherries are ornamental. Some of them produce tiny little berries that the birds get drunk on, but they're far too bitter for human consumption. I always eat some of the blossoms, just to satisfy the pagan in me. They, too, are bitter, like cough medicine.

Later in the season though we'll be able to eat some kind of berry - they aren't blackberries but are similar - and figs and peaches. There might be some edible apple trees here somewhere though I've never found any.

The White House garden will produce a lot of food this year. For the first time since WWII, the first family has planted a vegetable garden. Isn't that COOL? I LOVE MICHELLE OBAMA!!

willow said...

If I could choose, I would definitely live on the east coast. I feel right at home there. Although I've visited the west coast several times, it didn't feel "right" to me either. Maybe it's my ancestral DNA speaking?

Stunning pics!!!

hele said...

those blossoms look like they are about to float of and take the city with them.

we are also dead exited about the white house vegetable garden. Florian could not take the smile of his face the whole day.

willow said...

I heard about Michelle Obama's veggie garden! So great. I adore her, too!!!

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I've never been to D.C. in winter... all other seasons yes. I love D.C. I love that public transportation is so easy, the museums so breathtaking, the mall so inspiring, Georgetown so lively. I love Einstein's statue. I hope to get back to D.C. at some point and roam the streets. I miss going there.
...but I miss San Francisco as well. I think I would continually worry about earthquakes and I doubt the weather would be right for me on a steady diet, but I like the atmosphere of the area.

runmotman said...

Our trees have the hint of a bud showing, but as of yet no blooms ...very soon the crabapples and redbuds will be punctuating our city's homes and yards

Amy said...

The trees are no longer whispering, they're shouting! Halleluja!

I'm with you on the four distinct seasons. Arizona and I don't seem to quite fit yet, but I'm hoping we settle in a bit as time goes by.

Someday I hope to visit your city. I think it has so much to tell me! In the meantime, your pictures keep my interest piqued.

Bee said...

Your pouffery (great word!) really is gorgeous -- especially when set against that clear blue sky.

There IS something almost psychologically necessary about four seasons, I think. I lived in the Caribbean for a while, and I absolutely hated experiencing summer all of the time.

TheLibra said...

I'm about to leave San Diego where I have lived for 3 years (after moving here from Massachusetts) for that very reason...I need the seasons...SD is one continuously long summer, but honestly, you can't appreciate it when it's nice ALL the time. Of course, I'll need to remind myself this while shoveling my car from the snow next winter.

rothko said...

Steinbeck ... "Coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco." Something like that, anyway.

I love the weather in SF. Then again, I've never tried living there full time. I just go and visit as frequently as possible.

I HAVE lived in DC full time, and even though I love it and will always call it "home," I've not always been crazy about the weather. July/August remind me too much of Houston town.

Reya Mellicker said...

July and August are bad. But still, even then, storms will roll through and cool everything off for a few days. There's always drama in the weather.

I thought it was Mark Twain who said the coldest winter he'd ever spent was in SF.

It's a BEAUTIFUL city. Many people LOVE being there. I tried to be one of them, but as it turned out, I belong here in this skanky swamp. Go figure.

Reya Mellicker said...

Apparently, Mark Twain did NOT say that.

Delwyn said...

Living in the subtropics I can't say I ever want to go back to 4 distinct seasons however much I love your blossoms...I will enjoy them from afar.
My daughter in Toyko says cherry blossom fever is in full force there.
Its a yearly natural and social phenomena...
Happy days

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I have lived all over the u.s. and must agree spring in d.c. is quite spectacular...and I'd say with the magnificence of the city's design is just about the prettiest spring that one can find! enjoy the pouffery! I'm so pleased it's such a nice a long season.... for I always come in early may and spring is still glorious!

Barbara Martin said...

When the trees start to blossom is the time for me to take my allergy medicine. I love the flowers but the pollen is tough on me.

I agree, Reya, that there's no place like home, though I adore San Francisco.

Merle Sneed said...

The cherry blossoms are just wonderful. Living where winter puts everything to sleep, makes Spring more joyous. Lucky you.

Lover of Life said...

I had the good fortune to visit DC in spring. The cherry trees were amazing! I can relate to the feeling that you don't fit. I felt that way in Minnesota. The cold scared me. I had visions of walking to my mailbox and then being found hours later, frozen stiff. It didn't help when people told me stories of that actually happening! I feel at home in the mountains, and with four distinct seasons, however, love the damp of Portland, OR, too. San Francisco is always a relief from the heat when we visit in summer.

Ronda Laveen said...

I live several hours north of SF and our weather is vastly different. Our winters are cool, not cold by eastern standards. Sometimes we dip as low as the high 20s but our norm is high 30s-low 40s. But our summers, oh yeah, our summers regularly run in the 100+++++. For weeks at at time, yeah, sometimes months. On occasion, there will be a 100 degree swing between winter and summer temps. I like it HOT!!! PSSST and SIZZLE.

I am now too much of a wussy for eastern and mid-west cold weather. Earthquakes? Oh, you know, rock-n-roll is here to stay. Ours aren't usually as nasty as SF or LA but we have plenty of geological activity.

Eat cherry blossoms? Nay, not yet. But manzanita blossoms? Yes, lightly sweet and suculent and starting to bloom right about now.

Reya, I will be your left coast twin.

Mrsupole said...

Southern California is so different from SF. We have fairly mild winters and very hot summers. Spring here is wonderful most of the time and we do experience it, but not to the extent that you do there. San Diego has a more temperate climate than we do up by LA. But this has been home since I was a baby. Well except when hubby was in the military and we were in different states and a different country for 9 years. Then we came back home.

But I guess home is different for everyone. And since I have pretty much been here all my life, this is home. But I sometimes think that home is where your family is. And I was lucky cause hubbies mom was also living here in So.CA. Otherwise I might be living in Canada right now. And thankfully hubby does not like the cold and snow.

When hubby retires we want to move to Northern Arizona, our daughters, son-in-law and all the grandkids are coming with us. So it seems like it will be an easier move than if they stayed here. But due to the economy and the houses not selling, we may be here longer than we want. But it is so expensive here and to live in retirement is not something we want to try here. And because the rest of the family is staying here we do not want to move too far away. But it is so hot in AZ that we might be rethinking where to go. Oh sometimes it is so confusing as to the weather.

But oh well, we still have a year or two to decide.

California Girl said...

I read through many of the comments and everyone's perspective is interesting and sooo different. Good thing or I guess we'd all live in the same place. Come to think of it, thirty million people do! California! I miss it but until they get their act together, I don't know how I can go back. I have lived in the South, the Midwest, the Southwest and New England. I have loved each location for different reasons and the weather is usually only a small part. I really like the analogy to "a beautiful pair of shoes that hurt your feet."

lettuce said...

i love your spring blossom photos reya, i look forward to more to come