Is it late winter or early spring? Climate change makes it hard to tell.

I love to observe the change of the seasons, especially winter into spring, but lately climate change has gotten me mixed up about who it is I should trust: the calendar or myself. The calendar says early March, so still winter in the northern hemisphere, but my eyes say spring. All around me are things in bloom: wild plum trees & apple orchards; mustard and cover crops; irises & poppies and so much more.

Wild plum tree in bloom on March 4, 2020.

Is this really happening, I ask myself? Is this proof of climate change or just a mild winter & warm, dry month of February in the San Francisco Bay Area? Do the scientists really know? I doubt it. Then again: who does?

More signs of early spring?

Of course, winter in coastal California has always been different, with a Mediterranean climate that acts as if it has a will all its own.

Yucca in early March bloom.

Here, the plants of the world have found a home, which is strangely synced to the migration of people & products as well.

Camellia japonica in late February, growing at an elevation of 2,000 feet.

Climate change surely is happening, but at what cost? If the flowers & trees can adapt, than surely so can we. That is my hope.

Lemon tree in downtown San Jose weighed down with ripe fruit.

Seasonal cycles are hard to predict. Every meteorologist knows that. But climate change isn’t something exact & scientific. It is, at its core, visceral & emotional. We feel it.

Iris in bloom, March 6, 2020.

Is this why the debate over climate change can get so heated? It triggers us. It presses all the right buttons. It makes us feel vulnerable. It prompts us to wallow in guilt for the crimes against nature we collectively have committed.

Rosemary in bloom, early March 2020.

Is there time for a course correction? Yes! Always. Time is not a constant, like the speed of light. It is relative. So we can control time to some infinitesimal degree. And that gives me hope. That, & the plants in bloom all around here. If they are willing to adapt in order to survive, then so can we!

Trillium in bloom, March 6, 2020.

Published by Sempervirens117

I am a writer, blogger, and founder of sempervirens117.com, an environmentally conscious Silicon Valley consultancy based in Woodside, California.

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