For me, springtime is a personal matter. Winter has bottled me up like an evil genie. It’s stuffy in here, and my eyes are tired from winter’s dim light. I bolt outside in my light jacket and pick a neighborhood. Which one doesn’t really matter. Ballard and Magnolia are my favorites. I walk up one avenue and down another, house by house, to wonder at the gardens coming to life. They tell stories about the people who live there. They distill my winter mood.

If gardens are canvas, then Mother Nature is the calligrapher.

“Carmen Miranda lives here,” I muse, gazing into a cluster of flowering apple trees in a side yard… What’s the deal with monkey trees? They don’t do much, and honestly, they look pretty weird… Ahh, the pink lady! Her trees and bushes are all pink. Pink pink pink pink pink. Bright pink. Doily pink. Pale pink. Off-white pink. Purple. Pink. Her house is pink. Lace curtains hang in her living room windows.

I walk past a yard that is all mud with freshly poured concrete retaining walls. No lawn, no blue slate tiles, no raised beds. It’s a garden in progress. Yet in a true act of defiance, a smart cluster of bright-yellow daffodils pokes through the mud. I swear those flowers are smiling, and I can imagine the conversation Roger and Mona had during last year’s fall planting season. That’s determination.

And here is cooperation. A geometric row of brilliant pink cherry trees traces the median past a half dozen houses along 60th Street. How on earth did these people agree to do this? Did they ever argue about whose trash can spilled over, or whose dog decorated the sidewalk this week?

As I count my steps, I feel my blues and grays give way to green, yellow, and yes, even pink. A billboard in front of Ballard’s Interfaith Community Church sums it up. This week’s sermon? “Mother Nature Is Patient”.

Why, yes she is, and I reckon she has settled her fair share of neighborly spats. But in the end, it’s all glorious pink, much needed in this world, normally red with fire and black with smoke. I look back and see myself smiling.

Random Sparks
Written on 03 March 2007, on a day much like today.

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