Spring’s Ahead

In Palos Verdes, the cliffs overlook the assortment of beaches and coves like a weaving terrace of basalt and shale, layered with skeletons – the
strata of prehistory.

Climbing out of those towering deserts are bushes and trees.  Dry, salt-ridden and barbed, they harbor living creatures above the ocean, for all their inhospitality.

Not long ago I was watching the sea, standing by the cliffs, when I heard a bird singing close by.  It was balanced on a gorse bush; singing with such passion, with such blithe intensity that it didn’t notice how close I really was.  I was near enough to see the muscles of its throat fluttering, to see the small, sharp beak open to release the notes into the air.  I was able to visualize the music, tiny filigrees and arabesques twisting in an invisible fabric:  lilting and lowering, as the bird saw fit, to suit the musicale its joyous blood would dictate.

In the city, where I live, I have been hearing music too.  Pale and plaintive, it rises with the morning, a lavender echo of breaking clouds and a sunrise swathed in watercolor.  A mourning dove – always alone – rests on a telephone wire, its sadness filling the air.  All I see is the dark silhouette, but I know well the prism of its feathers:  mauve, grey and lilac:  the accepted dress colors for Victorian ladies in half-mourning.  Though there is only one, its mate is undoubtedly nearby.  Whether they are collecting materials for their nest, or scouting for new real estate, their impatient DNA urges them on.

Spring is coming.



10 responses to “Spring’s Ahead

  1. Wait, you live in PV? *jealous* I’m in Hermosa! I had no idea you were *right here!* [I don’t know where I thought you were from…the UK somewhere? Maybe the Northeast? I hale from the latter. Which “city” do you refer to?

  2. We are entering Autumn though with a 35C day predicted for tomorrow one has to wonder when it is actually going to start. It is darker for longer in the mornings. I love the autumn as it gives some relief from the heat, and my energy starts to return – what little is left!

  3. I wish I could truly believe spring was on the way. We had a day well above freezing yesterday, and the temps will go back down to -6F windchill (again) tonight and tomorrow morning. When summer comes, it better be glorious!

  4. I did not know mauve, grey and lilac were the wardrobe colors for half-mourning. (I assume you mean when one is halfway through the period of mourning for a loved one, and deep black is no longer appropriate.) Those are among my favorite color combinations, even though I was told by some “fashion coordinator” they made my skin look sallow.

    I have not seen any mourning doves yet around my neighborhood, though this very noisy mockingbird has appeared to chirrup at 5:00 every morning.

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  5. a lovely intimation of cyclical change. Also starting to experience it over here. Snowdrops and daffodils breaking through, more activity from the birds and a change in the quality of the light.

  6. i find that the constant “roar” of the freeway is different on “summer” nights.

    so far, my fav sign of spring was finding a squirrel in my backyard today. but the orange & grapefruit blossoms sure smell awesome.

  7. In fits and starts, they’re singing here, too. A mockingbird first, then the cooing doves. Red-winged blackbirds have arrived, traveling with the starlings, and on March 12, a few swallows swung through the sky. The larger groups usually arrive on March 21 or 22, and they’ll be having a sunny, mild week for the last leg of their journey.

    I had hoped to roam a bit yesterday to seek out flowers, but alas – 25 mph winds and much higher gusts kept me in. Spring still pushed forward, though. A pair of pigeons spent the afternoon trying to mate on my balcony railing, in all that wind. It wasn’t easy, but they clearly were determined. Here’s to spring, and love!

  8. la dauphine – I live in (and was born in) Los Angeles; Boyfriend and I go to Palos Verdes nearly every weekend at Haggerty’s and Torrance Beach – two of his favorite surfing spots. I don’t mind being thought of as a native of somewhere other than LA – people have thought I was English, Irish, from New York…and every time I’m told this, I’m delighted!

    FD – I’m already waiting for Autumn; Spring starts in a couple of days, it’s already getting TOO HOT, and the evenings are getting buggy. It is all a harbinger of Summer…the season I fear the most.

    Laurie – hmmm…I feel bad about complaining the heat; I do wish I could box 10 or 20 degrees and send them your way!

    Hangaku – Yes, after the mandatory time spent in black and jet, a lady is allowed to slowly introduce the more subtle, less celebratory colors into her wardrobe. And skin tone be damned – wear whatever colors you like!

    I love mockingbirds – so aggressive and brave and, yes, loud. There is a deserted mourning dove nest at Boyfriend’s house – we’re waiting to see if a pair decides to settle in.

    fifepsychogeography – yes, the change of light is the first thing I notice when the wheels of seasonal change begin to turn. Also, I’ve been watching the tree by my bus stop…it has changed from its bare winter silhouette to a fresh veil of green. But I see no one else looking and appreciating this marvelous change.

    leendadll – squirrlies!! They do not like the cold, and it is delightful to see them invading peoples’ yards in the new sunlight.

    Citrus and spring – what a marvelous fragrance!

    shoreacres – a few years ago I went to Chicago to meet some fellow bloggers; I saw my first red-winged black bird there, and pointed it out, rather hyper-excitedly. The other bloggers, most of them Easterners or from Canada, were familiar with this glossy creature and didn’t understand my – let’s be honest – hysteria. It was such a pretty little thing.

    I hope you’re able to seek your flowers soon – and yes, here’s to rebirth and to shameless pigeons!

  9. How thrilling to be so close to a singing bird, such an amazing gift! Mourning doves are one of my favorite birds, and I look forward to seeing them on the telephone wire when I open my front door in the morning. They used to come very close and watch me weeding the garden. Always loving the scenes you paint with your mellifluous words, Aubrey.

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