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Commentary: Commentary: Spring comes spectacularly to the Foothills

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The San Gabriel Mountains towering above La Cañada are filled with blossoming shrubs, “bonnier than any we have seen in years,” says hiker Reg Green.
(Reg Green)

Spring in Southern California has most definitely sprung, as even the most reclusive citizen must have noticed. It didn’t come without some severe birth pangs, however.

Do you remember that brief, sizzling humid interlude a couple of weeks ago? A friend from England who has just come to live here asked plaintively: “If it’s this hot in March, what will it be like August?”

After that, what about those winds howling through the canyons, fierce enough to shift garbage bins? And only a few days ago it was chilly enough in the early morning that hikers shivered as they started out.

Yet the baby survived. And it is bonnier than any we have seen in years. What with all that sunshine and the abundant rainfall you can feel even the city streets breathing new life. But in the mountains, the transformation from the browns and grays of the last few years has been magical.

Everything is sheathed in green of every shade, from the almost white to the almost black. The clusters of flowering bushes are more numerous than I can ever remember and some pathways are almost choked with wildflowers. Even the grass is startling in its height and vivid greenery.

When I’m traveling and think of California the colors that come to mind are gold and green. It is often — need I say? — not at all like that but that is exactly as it is now as I write.

No one wants the drought to return. I wouldn’t wish away a cubic inch of last winter’s rain. But it does have this to be said for it: When there’s a break in it, it makes you realize afresh what a wonderfully fertile land this corner of America is.

Reg Green’s latest book is “90 And Not Dead Yet.” His website is www.nicholasgreen.org.