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Chasing spring | Sow There!

If someone has strong resolve and unlimited funds, she could travel the world chasing spring.

In late October, I enjoyed one and a half seasons of fall. In Ireland — a land where people persevere under cloudy skies and croon ballads about rainbows — autumn arrived in the oceanic/temperate climate. Many of the yellow leaves that made the sidewalk slippery were similar to leaves we see in Chico. Two weeks later this was confirmed when the leaves in my hometown turned the same color.

Once upon a time, I traveled north in October with the Handsome Woodsman. When we zipped through Oregon and Washington we captured the changing season in photographs. When we returned home, we had a fall do-over as our season caught up to the fall.

Dancing across the globe to prolong a particular is feasible, and could be fun, but would cost a bundle.

In mid-February I was proud to drive down the Midway with half a dozen of our visitors from the international program at the college. This was on a weekend when the buds on the almond trees were just as likely to be open as to be closed, and before the icy rains. The day was a bit too cold for Dad’s black convertible, but we put the top down anyway.

I invariably blast rock music when driving the Mustang. There was bright sun and we wore thick jackets. I’m glad we didn’t wait for a warmer day because soon the rains caused the flowers to hang soggy.

I’ve lived in the valley for decades. Have there been years with a better bloom?


But that doesn’t mean mid-February along Blossom Lane was mediocre, just different.

Most importantly, that day will be a lasting memory for people who were there one day and somewhere else today.

Three weeks later this same group traveled to Washington D.C. for the grande finale of the international training program. In early March, in the humid subtropic climate of the nation’s capitol, we were lucky enough to see the earliest of the cherry blooms. Folks in D.C. today can spot those cherry trees in full bloom.

I hope the Sacramento Valley never tries to cash in on the glory of our local spring.

A simple search online turned up a long list of places that try to lure visitors with flowers.

You could travel to DC now and other places over the next decade checking cherry destinations off your list: https://bit.ly/3FGNbW2.

In mid July, Provence in France is bursting with color for the peak of lavender bloom, https://bit.ly/3yXNPL8. Holland, Michigan makes a fuss about tulips in May. My guess is that this Midwest town has tulip bulbs in every strip mall planter box, and waiting lists for hotels and restaurants during peak bloom. This sounds lovely, but let’s not do that here.

Ouarzazate, a town in Morocco, hosts a rose festival with reportedly millions of flowers in bloom, for which the folks host a parade. Closer to home we have the Rose Parade, with flowers gathered by the boatload to decorate floats. When they run out of flowers they strut down the street with giant balloons that look like Peanuts cartoon characters. So many places to go. So many things to see. And  most times, there’s just no place like the back roads back home.