The Star-News


Spring forward with memories

Sat, Mar 17 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Peña

If I were the whining type, you know, the curmudgeon who is always complaining about the ads on the TV, or the slowness of the mail delivery, or similar things I would be set up by the weather.  Not just any weather but chilly weather. Any temperature below 80 and my poor old legs start shivering like the 80-year-old golfer facing a three foot putt.  The circulation in my lower extremities would make the waters in the San Diego River seem like a torrent.

It is because of this condition that I welcomed the days of last weekend with open arms. Both Saturday and Sunday greeted the morning with wall-to-wall sunshine. And with this added sunshine we see another welcome phenomenon. One must look rather carefully but on some of the deciduous plants about the valley we observe the beginning of new growth.

I, for example, have a grape arbor and the plants are showing signs of greenery. For the past few months the long shoots coming from the main plant have been in the depths of hibernation.  Now we see life in many of the shoots and before too long we hope to see the clusters of grapes.  Last summer was the first time that the arbor bore grapes.

Let’s hope it wasn’t the last time.

One plant that is making an early entry into our spring time is the Acacia tree or bush.  Already the front yards and byways of the valley are liberally festooned with the bright yellow of the blossoms. This mixed with the rich greenery of the leaves gives the countryside that wide awake feeling that winter is on its way out and we are on our way to warmer days.

The literature tells us that that there are more than 800 species of the plant. What we see around here are probably Australian native and found their way to our shores at about the same time that the eucalyptus made its entry.  This, by the way, is guess work, but it seems to make sense.

The yellow of the acacia closely resembles the yellow of the mustard that will soon be dotting almost every empty lot in the valley and much of the vacant back country.

The mustard is, of course, an entirely different plant. It was the result of the seeds sown by some of the soldiers that accompanied Father Junipero Serra and the other missionaries on their treks to California from their native Mexico.

The soldiers, no doubt the faint of heart ones, feared the new land that they were entering and wanted to make sure that they could find their way home when the time came.  They, therefore, strew the seeds as they trudged northward, leaving a path that could easily be traced, and a sort of a new-world Hansel and Gretel ploy.

It will not be too long before we see the foliage of the other plants that light up our area.  The flowering peach and apricot will soon be displaying its bright white and pink blossoms.  These will be closely followed by my favorite of them all, the jacaranda.  This, you know, is the tree that sports the bright blue blooms.  We find them in front yards and in public places, lining the walkways and avenues in a mass of color. We wrote of this in the past and the only comment we received was that the jacaranda is also the bane of the gardener or house man who must rake the fallen foliage. We must take the bad with the good.

Sunday was such a pretty day that I opted to reprise something that Zula and I used to often do at such times and that is have an impromptu picnic.

I first went over to one of our deli emporiums and bought a six inch long sandwich, you know, the type that is loaded with meat and cheese, with all sorts of fresh vegetables to give it that healthy air.  For old times’ sake I had the young lady cut it in half.

I drove over to the Sweetwater Lake portion of the Regional Park and there, overlooking hikers and a couple of fishermen had my lunch.  Zula and I used to call such incidents making memories. It wasn’t quite the same but what the heck.  It was still not only making a memory but bringing back past memories. They can be some of the best, you know.


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