We moved to Portland when I was 13. The landscape was so different from Kodiak, and the Bay Area before that. It was early Fall, and the streets were lined with intense gold and rusty red leafed trees, rhododendrons were still blooming, and it was just - picturesque. What really took my breath away, though, was the arrival of Spring. If you do not live in the Pacific Northwest, you can't quite understand that anticipation of Spring (unless you live in Antarctica, of course, because you don't have Spring). It rains in Portland from late Fall through ... today is March 21, it snowed this morning, and now it's raining again. Spring often gets around to Portland about the same time as the rest of the United States is enjoying early Summer. This is agreeable for vampires, but not so enjoyable for me.
The first Spring in Portland was breathtaking. Since the sunshine comes in bits and pieces it's always a surprise, and because of the 'lush' habitat, all sorts of amazing flowers, bulbs and shrubs come to life all at once.
I still remember the first time I saw a peony plant. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, and still have that reaction to them. Peonies are like a blessing we receive for enduring the winter. Sort of like the blessing we receive after enduring a hardship or trial. Sometimes the blessing comes in the form of relief, sometimes peace, but it always comes. The Winter may be grey, but with a little luck and patience, Spring will eventually come.