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California's promise of spring

California's promise of spring

Posted By Sunny Lockwood

Despite the late winter storms blustering through northern California, coating high Sierra peaks with eye-piercing white, it’s clear we’re entering spring.

How do I know?

By all the beautiful wild mustard aurifying meadows, and painting bright sunny stripes among vineyards’ still-naked vines.

For those who claim that California has no seasons, I’d gladly drive them around Sonoma and Marin counties in February and March so they can see that we clearly have a season of gold that gilds spirits as well as countrysides.

One explanation of our glowing springtime landscapes credits the Franciscan friars of the 1700’s. It is said they sprinkled mustard seed along the route between California’s missions, thus giving (at least in the spring) a clear, golden path for folks to follow.

Another tradition says that sailing ship captains commissioned the planting of mustard along California’s northern coast, so they could make out the dangerous, rugged cliffs even when shrouded in fog.

That intense yellow, tinged with green, seems to be the most easily visible color to the human eye.

A couple of weeks ago, Sweetheart Al and I were in Sonoma County, ooohing and ahhhing over the beautiful vineyards bursting with wild mustard. I finally made him stop the car so I could take some pictures of the gently rolling hills. I’ve posted one here for your enjoyment.

Whether it’s friars or sailing captains or something else, I’m grateful for the wild mustard beauty filling California at this time of year. Besides the miles of heart-warming beauty, these yellow flowers on their long stalks are welcome harbingers of spring, one of my favorite seasons.


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