Tag Archives: spring

Tulips: SOL23 Day 28

I love tulips! They seem to scream spring. Thank goodness that our local Trader Joe’s offers these seasonal blooms for a reasonable price.

On Sunday I bought a bouquet of yellow blooms to take into the classroom. Since I had planned a project where my students would draw and paint a tulip still life, a splurge of bright yellow flowers seemed just right. And add to the equation that it is parent conference week, I couldn’t not buy them, right?

So now they are sitting in a mason jar on the table in the classroom. When I walked in this morning, the first thing I noticed is that they had changed since I left yesterday. Tulips seem to dance and sway, even as they sit in a vase with no wind around at all. I love to watch the blossoms open, becoming rounder and more dynamic.

I’m enjoying these little bits of sunshine as I teach and as I talk with parents. And with rain expected tomorrow, I’m thinking I will appreciate them even more. Two days of sunshine and warm weather are teasing thoughts of spring…and with spring break just a few days away, spring is on the brain.

So why do I feel the need to justify the purchase of a bouquet of tulips? I don’t hesitate to splurge on a latte now and then. I think I need to treat myself to a few more flowers–maybe especially for the classroom–to bring that spring feeling inside and to make each day feel more special and more festive.

Signs of Spring: SOL23 Day 22

There are those out there who would say it’s ridiculous to look for signs of spring where I live–they might even say there are only 2 seasons here: spring and summer. But those people would be wrong.

It’s funny, but since the “official” change of seasons on Monday, it seems like signs of spring are everywhere (in spite of A LOT of rain this week). The tree in front of my classroom has pulled on its gorgeous light green dress of leaves…that green that seems only visible in early spring. Just a week ago I was noticing a few leaves popping…and today, it’s showing its full glory.

The succulents in my backyard, those that don’t get very much attention at any time of the year, are suddenly showing off. While always pretty in their own succulent right, right now they are sporting new buds and blossoms-to-be.

The air too is different. Even though storms have still been rushing through, the temperatures are noticeably warmer and I find myself opting for lighter jackets and relishing the warmth of the sun on my shoulders when it pokes its way out from behind the clouds.

Are you experiencing signs of spring in your part of the world? What do your signs looks like, feel like, smell like, sound like, maybe even taste like?

Spring Fever: NPM #1

Even with the best of intentions, my first poem for the first of 30 days of National Poetry Month is posted on day 2! Blame the road trip I set off on yesterday and the many other distractions that accompanied that start. But, alas, here is the poem…and expect another later today to “catch up”.

Spring Fever

The temperature is rising

infecting us all

even in masks

We’re itching

to be outdoors



lazing in the sun

Like cats we look for

that puddle of light

that will evaporate

the cold and dark

of winter’s shadow

And create

a tunnel of green

straight into



Jacaranda Season: SOLC #25

It’s jacaranda season. The time of year when the trees burst into purple flower, spreading cheer and news of springtime.

While the trees are not native to our area, they are iconic in our area. I even just read that they are the official (non-native) tree of San Diego (as of 2000). Apparently it was Kate Sessions (the tree lady) who brought these beauties here and made sure they were planted all over the city.

In full bloom, these trees are beautiful. They are fragrant and their color ranges from bluish purple to these in my neighborhood of the more pinkish purple variety. My eye is always drawn to them as I turn the corner to drive into our neighborhood.

They’re messy…but such a beautiful harbinger of spring in our area. There are places in our city where the ground will be covered in these purple flowers as the blooms begin to drop.

Cue music: imagine Prince and Purple Rain. The city becomes carpeted in purple, like our own version of the yellow brick road. Raining down from above, purple blossoms are everywhere. They fall into your hair, stick to the bottom of your shoes, and cast a magical hue as spring begins to shift to summer.

It’s jacaranda season! Spring is here!

With a Repeated Refrain: NPM20 Day 22

Today we used a poem by Julie Fogliano called When Green Becomes Tomatoes, from a book by the same name, as our mentor for poetry writing in our virtual classroom.  Two defining features of the poem are the repeated refrain of when green becomes tomatoes” and the use of parentheses to bring in some extra information.

My students came at this poem from some different directions, some picking up on the structural refrain, others on the description of a season or time, while others played with the use of parentheses.  Here are a couple of examples.

Max created this gorgeous piece of digital art and composed a science poem with the repeated refrain:

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 9.46.21 AM

E’s poem captures his (and our) sense of this moment when solitude and staying home are our current reality and “busy’ness” is starting to sound good!

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 6.57.23 PM

My own poem was inspired by watching some small birds on the tree in my front yard…and then borrowing from Julie Fogliano’s structure to make sense of my thoughts.

Spring’s Song

When chirps become spring’s song

sunlight will flood the sky

and energy will sprout

like greet shoots emerging from rich, damp soil

when chirps become spring’s song

days will stretch

and we will itch

for beaches, parks, and winding mountain paths

when chirps become spring’s song

gentle breezes

will tickle the tree tops

and leaves will dance with the colorful blossoms

when chirps become spring’s song

birds will perch

watching over nests of wide-open mouths

singing songs of promise:

there will be tomorrows

(more happy than sad)

(more future than past)

when the world reopens (even just a tiny bit)

and chirps become spring’s song




SOLC Day 21: Spring Has Sprung

The sun rose early today, spreading its energy and light around like confetti, creating a party-like atmosphere, lightening the heaviness of this difficult time. And it’s the weekend! Even though there is work to do, today I’ve tried not to work. I’ve read, watched some mindless Saturday television, Facetimed with my grandsons (oh, to be 4!), walked on the beach, and even braved the grocery store.

I can feel that burst of energy coursing through my veins, running through my marrow, clearing my mind and unwinding that tight knot in my shoulder. There are so many people out today. The neighborhood is teeming with walkers (keeping their distance, of course), dogs, and bicyclers. I noticed someone up the street blowing bubbles for their children to chase in the front yard. The folks in the cul de sac near us had their patio furniture spread out into the street to allow for socializing with social distancing. I waved to the mail deliverer as I picked up the package on my front porch and my husband was profuse in his thanks to the grocery store employees who were doing their best to make shopping in the time of coronavirus as enjoyable as possible.

And the beach was glorious! We had another negative tide this afternoon, exposing a huge stretch of walking beach. While some white clouds hunched along the horizon, the expanse of blue dominated the sky. Wildflowers are blooming, adding their brilliant yellow to the usually monochromatic palette of endless shades of blue.

Rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days–and while we always seem to need rain–I am selfishly rooting for sun. Once spring has sprung, I don’t really want to push it back into the box! (Although I do admit, sunny days seem to be harder for people to maintain their social distancing!) Hope you’re also finding some ways to enjoy these first days of spring and a bit of downtime to recharge your batteries.

Tiny Celebrations

It’s easy to get involved in all the chores and duties of life and leave the actual living behind.  Loads of laundry, stacks of dishes, the carpet that needs vacuuming, stopping by the gas station after work, the quick trip to Trader Joe’s for cat food and yogurt…  In that blur of activity, a focus on what matters most can easily slip.

For me, that’s where my camera comes in.  When I head out with my camera, even if it is only out into the backyard, I start to pay attention to the beauty and life around me.  I find an appreciation that might otherwise be overlooked.

Today, instead of a walk after work, I headed home.  But even though time was short, I knew I needed time outdoors, so to the backyard I went. The ground was pretty muddy from all the rain, weeds sprouting where grass used to grow.  Plants in pots have gone crazy, with succulents growing large and lavender beginning to blossom.  I leaned in, zooming close with my macro lens.  I love the way that this close up shot brings the lavender into focus, blurring the background into a beautiful abstract painting.  And I was delighted by the bokeh effect, scattering the light behind the lavender without using any special effects.


As I walked along the fence line, I noticed some blossoms on the pear tree that we thought had died.  The drought has taken a toll on our yard, killing most of the lawn and any other plants that were not well established.  This young tree is showing some signs of life…but is certainly neither robust or likely to bear fruit any time soon.  But the blossoms are delicate and dainty–reminders that spring is on the way.  Time outside helps me find focus and reminds me that there is more to life than daily chores.  Tiny celebrations make all the difference!


I read an article I found on Twitter the other day about the power of five post-it notes to make you happy, confident and successful.  I feel like I can achieve the same effects with my camera.  Look closely and find something beautiful, something unusual, something funny (like this photo of the little girl hula hooping in her tiara and long pageant gloves)


…all reminders of what life has to offer when you make time everyday to appreciate the world around you.

Staying Afloat

I love my job. And yet, I still need time off to refresh and recharge…to stay afloat amid the demands of the work I love. Sometimes I am tempted to use my time off to catch up on the work details that build up in the course of my daily work life or to tackle those cleaning and organizing projects that take so much time. But this week, I mostly spent time exploring, enjoying…and not too much else.

And for this week staying afloat meant climbing the California Tower with my sister and looking out over the beautiful city where I live. The tower, that has been closed to the public for most of my life, offers 360 degrees views…to the ocean, to the mountains, and more. And because of the unique flight path in San Diego, I was watching planes descend right over the city skyline.


We also met up with this mallard duck couple enjoying a private swim in the small garden fountain. The morning light in this unedited photo seems to emphasize the beauty of the ducks and the surrounding fountain and gardens.


We found these overturned boats and flowers near the place where Geoff and I lived many years ago, right after we first got married. In the background you can see the boats that are afloat and the brilliant blue of Mission Bay.


And as much as I love this place I live, getting away helps me to unwind and push work into the background. So afloat, high in the air (is that a stretch of the word afloat?), we journeyed up the coast to San Francisco. This is one of those places I have been to many times, but sometimes forget to “see” it. As we headed out of the city to a destination further north, we took the time to stop and appreciate the towering icon that is known as the Golden Gate Bridge.


I love San Diego beaches…but northern California beaches are a different breed. These are rough and wild…and in the springtime, adorned with beautiful wildflowers. As we stood looking off the cliff near the Point Cabrillo lighthouse, we watched an osprey soar toward us with a fish gripped in his talons. We heard about the migrating whales another couple had just seen, and watched this squirrel nibble near the edge of the cliff.


A highlight of our trip was a visit with my son and daughter-in-law. They treated us to a hike up a local mountain…Mt. Diablo. As we drove the curving mountain roads, dodging intrepid bicyclists, my son told us about this peak’s unique qualities—including unobstructed views for miles around. Our day wasn’t crystal clear, but the views were breathtaking!


And all too quickly, our trip must end. As we drove back to the airport for our trip home, I caught another glimpse of beautiful San Francisco and its golden gate…from the Bay Bridge. And with a bit of editing on my iphone photo, you can see what my eyes noticed as we said goodbye.


I’m wishing for one more day…to wash clothes, pick up some groceries, and maybe catch a nap. But alas, I will be back at work tomorrow…loving every minute and squeezing those essential chores into the creases of my day, and I think that’s where they belong anyway.

Morning Light

When you live in a place with moderate temperatures all year long, the end of winter and the beginning of spring often pass unnoticed.  Plants grow and flowers bloom all year long…outdoors!  So this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge at the Daily Post was a hard one.  I feel like I have already posted photos of beautiful blooms and outdoor fun…so what does spring really mean to me?

We had a few days of unseasonably hot weather last week…it felt more like September than the end of April/beginning of May.  But this week we’re back to more usual, cooler temps (in the 60’s).

I came across this quote from photographer Henri Cartier Bresson last night and realized that I, too, use my camera as a sketchbook, capturing moments and feelings as I come across them.

“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

I’ve been paying attention to changes in light and color, especially when it comes to my photography, trying to capture those instances of soft glow and light that seem to kiss the subject. And I have instances in my camera roll that capture these noticings.

This morning my eye was drawn to the clouds on my way to work…and I had to pull over to snap a few shots of the ocean and the clouds above.

ocean from the road

And while the original was nice, I love the way the filter adds even more dimension to the clouds.

Even before I left the house this morning I had my camera (phone) out as I noticed Phil laying on our new rug (no furniture in that space yet) in the morning light. This is unedited and unfiltered.

Phil on carpet

On Saturday morning my husband was up early baking.  I could smell his handiwork as I woke up, knowing that he enjoys the early morning quiet for his cooking creativity.  When I made my way down to the kitchen, I saw the blueberry pie cooling in the morning light and couldn’t resist taking a photo.

morning pie

Later that morning, when I was walking on the beach I noticed the reflection of this fishing pole on the sand.  And I managed to not only capture the reflection of the pole in the wet sand and also the soft light on the beach on a sunny Saturday morning in May.

fishing pole

Now that spring is here, the days are longer and I’m noticing differences in the quality of light, especially in the morning and early evening.  So maybe spring is about light for me. At least right now it is.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Here’s the week 10 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt for the NWP iAnthology!  (Here are weeks 12345678, and 9 if you want to look back.)

It seems like spring is a tumultuous time of the year, the seasons shifting erratically–not quite sure whether to let go the grip of winter or to emerge into the growth of spring.  Even in sunny San Diego, I’m not sure whether to head out in flip flops and a sweatshirt or to pull on my boots and cozy jacket…and sometimes I need both on the same day!  But whether it has arrived or not, it seems that we yearn for spring as March progresses.  St. Patrick’s day is right around the corner with its show of green and by the end of next week spring will be official.

I find myself wanting to capture images of spring lately.  I couldn’t resist buying some daffodils at Trader Joes and then using my macro lens to look closely at the emerging bud.


I did the same with the shamrock plant, focusing in on the small white flowers that decorate the beautiful three-leafed plant.


But I was reminded that it isn’t all buds and blossoms when I walked on the beach and came across this lobster trap tossed up against the rocks in the storm last week.  Strong waves wrestled with the anchored traps…as well as the kelp plants holding tight to rocks on the ocean floor, ripping them from their moorings and rearranging the beach.


So this week’s photo challenge is to share photos that conjure spring. It can capture the emerging life or the harshness of winter’s end…or something I haven’t even thought of yet!  Post either the photo alone or along with writing inspired by the photo.  I also invite you to use others’ photos as inspiration for your own writing and photography.  I often use another photographer’s image as “mentor text” for my own photography, trying to capture some element in my own way.

I like to share my images and writing on social media…and I invite you to share yours widely too. (You might consider Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+) Use the hashtag #spring and include @nwpianthology to make it easy for us to find and enjoy.  You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @kd0602.  I’d love to follow you if you share your handle.

You can also share your photos and writing by linking to this blog post or sharing in the comment section below.  I am excited to see how you represent spring through your lens!