Spring and Doom

One of the petty sad things about climate change is that it makes a nice day feel like a doomsday portent. And nothing ruins a beautiful day like a sense of climate guilt. I’ve had that feeling a lot this winter, since this winter has basically been mostly spring. (Sorry, East Coast, I’m not trying to grind it in.) The lilacs and the apple tree began blooming in March, and I did my Annual Flower Count today, and though I did it ten days before the 2013 count date, I did it late. The ideal day is when there are still daffodils and one or two forsythia flowers, but also lilacs and apple blossoms. That day was over a week ago, and now most of the daffodils are gone and the only reason I even got 37 (compared to 40 in 2013) was that I counted all the flowers I bought at the nursery on Friday. Also, the flowers might be out, but the insects aren’t, and I’m worried about the pollination of our fruit trees.

If I slow down, I trust that the Earth will deal with all of this and life, in the most cosmic sense of the word, will be ok. But humans might not be there to see it, and I love my particular life and my species and my flowers a lot.

On a side note, this is also why I’m hesitant about AI. It seems perfectly likely to me that any sophisticated artificial intelligence is as likely to knock humanity down for the good of life in general as it is to annihilate us out of selfishness, and both seem more likely than that it will peacefully be our slave forever. But geeks don’t listen to me. Anyways, Happy Easter.


The Annual Flower Count

Today is a holiday you may not have known about. Not Tax Day. Not Squinch’s birthday. (Though it is both of those.) Today was the Annual Flower Count. At my house, anyways.

This is a tradition my sisters and I started when we looked like this:


It is very simple. We count the kinds of flowers blooming on one day in our yard.

By kinds, I mean colors or varieties — so yellow tulips and pink tulips both count, but all yellow tulips are one.

By flowers, I mean anything that blooms: trees, bushes, bulbs, weeds. Little girls don’t value lilacs over dandelions.

By blooming, I mean the petals are showing and at least one of the flowers is still pretty much alive.

By one day, I mean any day, whatever day the counters decide to count on. I picked today because it was sunny and springy and because the lilacs had started but the daffodils hadn’t quite ended.

Those are the rules. These are the results: in my yard there are exactly FORTY kinds of flowers blooming today. Not bad. Although we often had in the seventies when I was a kid, if memory serves me.

I invite you to celebrate this holiday, too. Happy counting! I would love to know your tally.

SUNSHINE! Or, Another Incredible Statistic

Guys, it was sunny today.  And yesterday. And the day before.  We won’t talk about Friday, when it tricked us into not wearing our coats to the park and then POURED rain on me and ten unsuspecting children until we had to huddle under the overhang by the nasty public restrooms.  But we were talking about sunshine.  It really has been sunny for three days, and that crazy big moon has been out at night, and I’ve been happy.  I don’t think it’s actually possible for me to be sad when it is sunny in Seattle.

Instead, I’ve been in a state of semi-heat stroke.  Like yesterday, I hallucinated a large white dog in the doorway of the coffee shop.  We’re talking about a labradoodle that was only there in my peripheral vision.  Dude, I know.  But I swear, it’s because of the sun. My skin, which is my biggest sense organ, was scrambling like crazy to integrate all that direct solar energy, so no surprise if some sensory signals were scrambled.  And did I mention the heat?  Seventies, guys, for real.  I can’t tell you how much water I was drinking.

Last time it was really sunny, a few weeks ago, I was in American Apparel on Broadway buying leggings.  Say what you will about American Apparel, they know their leggings. They aren’t see-through, or anything, so if I was fifteen I could wear them with some weird short sweater or something, or being thirty I can wear them to yoga since I happen to like my own butt.  The point is, you want hipster clothes, go to hipster stores.  Anyhow.  So there I was in American Apparel buying leggings, and the salespeople are all wearing their American Apparel Salespeople outfits and talking in their hip young-person accent, which I really hope I do not have, and I have a wicked V shaped sunburn on my chest and back, and we’re talking of course about the weather.  The guy at the cash register says the sun made him fall asleep on the bus and be late to work.  Then he tells me a startling statistic.  

“Did you know,” he says, “I hear coffee in Seattle is apparently so strong that people can get their Vitamin D from it.”

So there you go: the Seattle secret.  And if anyone an expert on the benefits of coffee, it’s that sleepy hipster.