These past weeks here in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties have seen odd weather – not seasonally odd – but overall odd. Thunder and lightning seldom occur here – but they did, in abundance. Cold weather, and a week of rain. Now, up into the 70s and 80s, the east winds are blowing dust and pollen everywhere. Everyone is congested and feeling as if hayfever has descended like a plague. The winds are drying up people and plants. Tomorrow, we can expect more rain.
Despite my whining, it has been really lovely to get a week or so of rain. The problem is the sudden shift from high humidity to low, and the winds just add to the mix by drying everything up more so than just higher temperatures might. The skies have been beautifully clear and blue, and the clouds are more than usual – the usual is no clouds around here!
After work, a friend and I took our cameras and headed out to a local park in Thousand Oaks, Wildwood Park, which is part of the land dedicated to open space around the city. This park has meadows and scrub, rocky paths, vistas. In the early evening, with a week of rain behind us, the winter vegetation is beginning to green up. Underfoot, the earth gives a little, which feels strange when one is used to a dry, dusty crunch.
The cacti are rather fat and full of water. The prickly pear have ripening fruit.
Sagebrush flowers are dried, hollow shells, but the leaves erupt in an acrid spiciness when crushed. While the hills still look burnt from the dryness of the summer, a hint of green may be seen.
The sunset was bright and clear, with a majestic descent of the sun into the western mountains, turning clouds pink and the valley gold, orange, purple, and gone.