IT RAINED ALL NIGHT last night. These forever gray skies are beginning to get me down a little, and I long for sunshine and warmth. Not the kind of warmth that comes from sweaters and heating vents, but the soak-into-my-bones kind of warmth that  comes only from the sun—or a tanning bed, and I am avoiding those these days. Still, there’s a kind of curl-up-in-the-corner hibernation feel to these cold, overcast days that also feels good. It’s what gives me permission to sleep in, to be less productive than I might.

So, when the alarm went off at 7:30 this morning, I just shut it off and went back to sleep. I think I could have slept until noon—if I would ever allow myself to do that, which I don’t. Especially on a day like today, when there is so much to do. And there is always so much to do. So I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower at 9:30 am, grateful for the opportunity to get some extra sleep and for the darkness that keeps me at my desk.
If the sun was out, I’d want to be outdoors riding my bicycle, walking, soaking in the sunshine-filled, spring air. I’d want to be out photographing the bright greens and yellows of the ubiquitous mustard which, though it’s beginning to pop up here and there, will spring forcefully from the earth at the first hint of warmth. Here in Napa, nothing says spring like the mustard-infused vineyards and hillsides.

grass-1331703_1920Some people say that California has no seasons. People who’ve never lived here, of course. We have all four seasons, but they are more subtle than those in more severe climates. Spring brings rain and wildflowers, crisp morning air, and puffy, milky-white clouds that drift across the sky, purposefully heading south with the birds. Summer settles lazily here in Napa Valley, drawing fruit to all the trees, the vineyards, and the heat of the afternoons, driving us indoors or under the shade of trees. It’s a dry kind of heat that settles into our lungs and weighs heavy on our shoulders. It propels us to the beach, or up into the nearby redwoods, where these tall stewards keep the air cool and fresh. Fall is a glorious feast of colors—golds, crimson reds, and sepia browns. Crisp mornings and crystal, star-filled nights announce the coming of winter. Here, winter doesn’t come with snow (well, rarely), but frosty mornings, clear night skies and then, depending on the year, rain and clouds, morning fog and flood warnings.

This winter has been particularly wet, and I suppose that’s why I so long for spring. I stand grateful in this moment, thinking of the abundance of wonder this earth offers me each day. Gratitude for sun and rain, spring and fall, and always, the hope of new growth, new harvests, and new life.

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