Nesting heron chicks. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, April 2017. Photo by Tibby Storey

It is hard not to feel uplifted by the arrival of spring.  Perhaps “near arrival” might be a better way of putting it, because the weather is still a bit iffy here in the San Francisco Bay Area, with sunny days interspersed with showers. The trees and shrubs are budding and beginning to flower.

Following five years of severe drought, rainfall in California this year has exceeded all expectations. Thanks to the wettest year on record, wildflowers are blooming in such profusion that the phenomenon is called a super bloom. The nearby hills have turned emerald green. The drought is officially over.

Spring brings new life. Like millions of others, I watched April the giraffe in Harpursville, New York give birth to a beautiful, nearly six foot tall foal, thanks to a live video feed. As one viewer commented, “I can’t believe I’m in an apartment in New Jersey drinking coffee and witnessed the live birth of a giraffe. What a privilege.”

Land’s End, San Francisco, April 2017

Migratory and year-round resident birds have burst into song. Swallows, robins and blue jays have returned to my backyard. Red tailed hawks, ravens and other birds of prey chase one another high over the southern part of the city. Herons and owls are nesting in Glen Canyon and Golden Gate Park. Stow Lake has an abundance of baby ducks, and even the messy, invasive Canada Goose has produced some adorable goslings.

Journalist Dan Rather, creator of the site News and Guts, took a moment this week away from political commentary to celebrate spring. “It’s hard to fully express how good it made me feel to see the robins return and the eagles’ nests rebuilt… The return of early signs of spring is, to me, anyway, a reminder that, whatever the news of the day, life is filled with constants. And that nature is one of them.”

Fort Hamilton Park, Brooklyn, NY, April 2017

Returning from several days in Brooklyn last week, where balmy picnic weather mostly prevailed, I could not help but be reminded of the beauty of nature. From the air, the snow-covered Rockies and Sierra Nevada mountains were a stunning sight. The snow has created a skiers’ paradise, and the runoff promises new life and beauty to the streams and rivers.

Returning to the Bay Area, we flew over verdant green hills. Recent rains have ensured that the new life will continue at least through the month. Gradually, the grasses will fade to toasty brown, reminding us of the cyclical nature of life.

Apple Trees in Blossom by Claude Monet, 1872. On view Fine Arts Museum, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, April 2017

A study by the Greater Good Science Center of University of California, Berkeley, suggests that people are happier and find more satisfaction when they take time to appreciate the good things in life.

There could not be a better time than right now to take a walk in nature, whether in the country, a canopy of trees, or by a body of water.



Dan Rather. News and Guts

Greater Good Science Center. A Scientific Reason to Stop and Smell the Roses by Stacey Kennelly. July 3, 2012


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