The seasons of Spring

Painting of the three springs
Three Springs
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on #140 Arches hot press


We’re in the middle of spring in the Sierra (at least, I think we are. This is my first season here, so I’m still observing). The daphne stopped perfuming the neighborhood a month ago, and the last forsythia flower fell last week. The pink and white bells of the manzanita are nearly all gone, but black oak pollen from dangling catkins dusts cars, decks, roofs with yellow powder. While some dogwoods are blooming, mine seems to be a late-to-the-party Nellie, only just now sprouting leaves. Wildflowers like lupine, California poppies, and paintbrush are in the middle of a jumble of color, and weedy poverty grass is greening up the hills.

It made me think that while we celebrate the 4 seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, we don’t often mark the degrees of each season. But seasons mature, don’t they? Think of spring, going from tender buds, to full flower, to the beginning of fruit. Perhaps when Persephone returns from the underworld, she is reborn as a baby and matures into a woman as spring progresses into summer. Anyway, that’s my fancy.

Here are my three springs.

painting of early spring
Early Spring

Crocus, daffodils, forsythia, almonds, pears.

Painting of mid spring
Mid Spring

Flowering cherries, plums, and apples. Magnolia, Arctostaphylos, coyote bush.

painting of late spring
Late Spring

Oaks, pines….? I don’t know, we’re not there yet!

What’s flowering where you live? What age is your spring right now?