In a different context there is much buzz about dry January, but the weather gods did not participate. And as payback for the rain and freezing temperatures that Sweet B and her family endured here over the Christmas holiday, during a California mid-January trip we watched rivers of rain waterfall off horizontal gutters day after day.
We dodged the deluge to have fun anyway. A visit to a train museum delighted about-to-turn three Sweet Brother. We rode a tiny train around the park, climbed inside giant steam engines, and walked back and forth on real train tracks for a very long time. Among Sweet Brother’s passions, trains are second only to construction vehicles.
Then we came home to a dry and cold last week of January.
When we first came down here after all those years of real winter in Alaska, I expected spring to happen quickly as it does there – flip a switch and the growth (and gardening frenzy) begins. But, because the beginnings are so welcome in January, I’ve come to love the glacial pace of spring here. Daylight improves, the sunset is after five p.m., and mornings often hold early promise, even if they succumb to hovering clouds that force the day back to gray gloom.
But I spotted a snowdrop just after the new year, the tips of daffodils already emerge through last fall’s fallen leaves, and fragrant bushes stop me in my tracks. Most specially sarcococca – which I can never pronounce – but love its common name, fragrant sweet box. For it is fragrant – now it seems that every street presents a sarcococca offering – anonymous green bushes most of the year, the fragrance of their tiny blossoms surrounds me on early morning walks.
The local florist does its porch proud all year long, and I often step up on the porch to see what seasonal flowers they’ve arranged. Now, in this gray time, a few hyacinth and pots and containers of tiny blooming jonquils cluster around a blast of painted color. Most welcome!