The return of spring signals the return of many of my favorite things: the blossoming of the Magnolia tree in my backyard, the sweet smell of flowers growing in the orchards around OVS, the time change, the end of the school year, and (perhaps most importantly) the return of Junbi’s lavender honey matcha. And taking Claritin every morning…
The first day of real warm weather during the spring is always one of my favorite days of the year. People hiding from the colder weather for months suddenly reappear around Ojai as though awakened from their winter, indoor slumber. People can be scattered across Arcade Plaza, by that fountain, and in Libbey Park soaking up the good sun.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, especially because festivals and people touring the city never really stop, life returns to Ojai.
Like most people, I’ve received several vases of flowers for several occasions. I watch them blossom and wilt as the joy from the event fades, or I regain my health from an illness.
When I am sick, the decision to throw the flowers away is symbolic of moving on. I have recovered, and the flowers have given me their beauty and life when I was physically weak. After I regain my strength, I can appreciate the era of the beautiful flowers, then feed them to my tortoise to let him have the last of the gift.
It can feel sad watching them wilt, but when I put it into perspective, they have served their purpose and it is time for me to move on. They brought me happiness when I needed it, and with each day they grew weaker, I grew stronger.
Tossing out flowers from events can seem more sad, because it was a good moment, and the wilting of the flowers symbolizes the moment’s transition from an experience to a memory. Once the vase is empty, however, it leaves room for new opportunities. Another great experience will come, and the vase will be filled once again.
Walking among trees, flowers, and bushes, I see so many detailed shapes and colors that could be put together to represent almost anything. One homework assignment I had this week was to create a biological structure using elements of nature, and it was incredible to see how many mediums were available in the small space of my backyard.
I can see the textures of the plants and imagine how they would function in a work of art. I remember back in the seventh grade when our english teacher had us replicate the art of a famous nature artist by arranging leaves on the ground. We created the pattern of a heart using the different shapes, colors, and textures of nature. It was incredible to see how so many pieces of nature can come together and create something so beautiful.
While nature is stunning in itself, it has the capacity to be rearranged into a work of art with intent. The intention within a nature piece shows the connection between human spirit and the beauty of the natural world.
Everything’s been a little different since the fire.
The drive back home is darker now. The trees seem angrier, defeated.
Even now, when the breeze picks up it stirs around the ashes that had settled into the dirt, the ashes that first arrived over six months ago.
I can still remember it so vividly. I can still smell the smoke, I can feel the ashes burning my eyes. I remember how hard it was to breathe. The air was thick and the world was sluggish and grey. For awhile I forgot that the sky wasn’t normally orange. The wind was hot. Everything felt dirty.
I can still picture seeing what was left of my uncle’s house for the first time. The home and business that he had spent so long building was reduced to a pile of black dust and scrap metal and crumbling rocks. I wonder how long it took.
My brother found a metal garden sign buried in the rubble. It read one word. Simplify.
How ironic can the world be? The fire had already taken everything from my uncle, so why, at the last second, did it feel the need to cough up a message telling him to simplify?
I was angry for a long time. I was sad. Our little town doesn’t deserve this, I thought.
But slowly, I’m starting to think maybe there are some good things that have come out of this, scattered all around.
The hills were black for a long time. And then it finally rained. So the grass started to grow, and trees that I’d assumed to be dead starting sprouting leaves again.
And now, there are hundreds of wildflowers blooming all over the ground. I’ve never seen some of these flowers before in my fifteen years of living here.
Before the fire the hills were dark green and brown, earthy. During the fire they were red. After, they were black, scorched. But now, they’re speckled with blues, yellows, purples, light greens, and covered with orange California poppies.
The only way that they are able to bloom is because the brush above them was burned away.
Maybe there’s some irony in that too. But I think it’s also very beautiful in a way.
And it’s the little things like these that we have to be thankful for.
It is that time of the year when it starts to get warmer. The spring breeze is so nice and warm that you just want to take a nap. The flowers are blooming and the birds start to chirp. This is when I know my birthday is coming up.
I have a Japanese middle name, “Sakura,” meaning cherry blossom. This name is common in Japan among people who are born in the spring. The day I was born, my grandma in Japan said that since the cherry blossoms were in bloom she would name me Sakura.
Spring is my favorite season. Although it is the season of my birthday, the reason I like spring most is because of the perfect weather. It’s hot enough to go to the pool and also if you drive a couple of hours to the mountains you can go skiing. I love to ski and I love to surf, so this season is perfect for me.
Sure it brings the obvious, like flowers and butterflies; and then there’s the cliché that “romance is in the air.” But on closer inspection, spring is more than what meets the eye.
Springtime means new flowers, but more than the flowers themselves are the leaves finally bursting through the soil after a long winter hiding from the soil. Spring is the flower buds slowly opening in the heat of the sun, and closing again in the cool evening air.
More than the buzzing bees are the baby ladybugs taking their first steps across the ground, and the butterflies finally breaking free from their cocoons. It is the baby birds hatching from their shells, tottering around their nest and flying for the first time.
Spring is more than what immediately catches the eye. Spring is more than just the flowers, it is the flower buds, the newborn creatures, and the earth itself.
Spring is my favorite time of year. Why? Because back home in Colorado, it’s when the snow starts the melt. The grass begins to turn green, and the flowers start to bloom. Here at school in Ojai, the weather goes from foggy and cold to sunny, and almost unbearably hot.
In Colorado, spring means the end of a cold winter, which a couple months in, everyone is already sick of. Flowers start to peek out, and it’s when they have just bloomed that they are the prettiest. The grass is green, and the rivers rush with all the snow melt-off. It’s perfection.
Spring also means that the school year is coming to an end. Classes start turning their attention from the everyday lessons to the upcoming finals. Senioritis kicks in as the seniors prepare to throw their cap in the air.
The sun finally peeks it’s head out from behind clouds, flowers decide it’s warm enough to come out of their shell. The world seems awake again. That’s why Spring is my favorite season.
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