“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”~ Claude Monet
By Sue KILPATRICK
Whether in the foothills of the Crescenta Valley or a European village in the 1500th Century, the blossoming of spring flowers signifies a change of weather. Winter and its effects are waning, the days become warmer and the sunlight-time grows longer. For us, it is a time to enjoy; for them a time to rejoice, as another winter’s hardships endured.
In England during that time, May 1 was considered to be the first day of summer. And on this day one would awaken before dawn, wash hands and face in the morning dew and go out into the woods and meadows to collect flowers and greenery for wreaths, garlands and baskets. The last spring rains of April provided nature the perfect stage for this scene. This tradition was called “bringing in the May.” Years may pass, but nature and traditions endure time.
Last Sunday, on Easter, to our surprise, it rained. It was an ever-so-brief April shower. By the time you could find an umbrella and put it up, the rain was over. The skies cleared leaving behind fluffy clouds and mild temperatures. It was a lovely day. Our rain total for the season stands at 33.98 inches, 10 above average. This week, northwest winds blew warmer temperatures into our area. The high Wednesday reached 90.
The end of this week brings the last day of April. And Sunday will be May 1! With the cooperation of several months of perfect weather conditions so far this year I would like to announce the arrival of … “May flowers!”
Long ago, about 50 years, a little girl (we’ll call her Susie) lived in La Crescenta. She attended Valley View Elementary School. Mrs. Alcorn had given her third grade class a special assignment. “Boys and girls, tomorrow is May Day. We are going to make baskets and then fill them with flowers. So, when you come to school tomorrow, please bring five flowers. Oh, and please ask the grownup’s permission to pick them. Maybe you will find them in your own garden or a neighbor’s.”
By the next morning, Room 8 was transformed into a florist shop. The varieties and teacher’s comments were many.
“Tommy, what bright flowers, lets give them a little water.” “Oh, pretty yellow mustard-flowers, bet you found them in a vacant lot.” “And Kathy, your mother’s roses smell so good.” “Bobby, pink Oleander (poisonous!). May I please keep them on my desk?”
At the end of the day, we proudly carried our basket home, made of woven strips of construction paper and filled with shared bounty. As dictated by tradition, Susie secretly left the May basket at her favorite neighbor’s door, rang the doorbell and ran … fast!
The winds should be calm and temperatures drop as the CV Weekly is delivered. Our weather for the next week will be dictated by the alternating influences of the onshore and offshore winds, one keeping the Foothills cool and foggy and the other warm and sunny – very pleasant. Perhaps Claude Monet was able to capture the flowers of May as he transferred their beauty to canvas.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.