By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
Spring has definitely come to the desert. As both my brother and I have mentioned in recent weeks (probably ad nauseam), the flowers in the desert are truly one of nature’s miracles. They pop up almost overnight and bloom in magnificent colors – brilliant orange, pink, and yellow. They signal the end of cold weather and the beginning of spring. Of course, my brother has the advantage of viewing the beautiful flora here in the desert and then returning home to the wonderful climate of Orange County. I, on the other hand, see the beautiful flowers and know that we will be enjoying springtime for a maximum of – to be on the generous side – 10 days. Then, like someone has flipped the switch to a blast furnace, we begin our season of “dry heat”. As I’ve often said when someone mentions that term – my microwave oven is also a dry heat but you don’t see me living in that, now do you?
The other sign that spring has come is that the birds start to fly about in great numbers. They chirp endlessly – some sort of mating call I suppose. If this year is any indication, we’re going to have a HUGE bird population in the next few months. The most annoying birds are the woodpeckers who love the flashing on the roof that surrounds the fireplace chimneys. Apparently woodpeckers must be related to roosters because at the most un-Godly hours in the morning they begin rat-a-tat-tatting on our roof. Their constant pecking echos down the metal chimney flue to create the most startling sound known to man. Or at least that’s how it seems at 4:30 in the morning. This is such a problem that several men in the neighborhood have taken to shooting BB guns at them – a la the crazy father in “Steel Magnolias”. There they are, outside before dawn, in all manner of undress, shooting at birds who are laughing their tail feathers off at the idiots trying to shoot them down.
We unwittingly have found a way to exact revenge on all the birds. A couple of years ago we installed a glass front door and sidelights, allowing a view to the backyard when standing at the front door. The picture at right was taken at the door so you get the idea. Birds, however, are not that smart. Somehow they have confused our house with a landing strip at Sky Harbor. With the advent of spring, they are on a quest to fly right through our house. Consequently, it is not unusual to hear a loud “BAM!” and see the wingspan of a bird imprinted on our front door. Before you even think about calling the SPCA , rest assured that no bird is injured in this process. After they hit the door, they fly away stunned and most likely go home and take an Advil. Usually by the end of spring word has gotten out in the bird community to stay away from the “trick” door at the Watson’s house. But for the next few weeks we will be the pathway to hell for countless of our feathered friends.
Flowers and birds aside, the most telling sign that spring has sprung is that it’s baseball season again. Somehow just hearing a game on the radio or on TV elicits fond memories of bygone days and gentler times. I know that people complain that the game is too slow or that the teams are composed of drug-addled, spoiled players. But there is something nice about the timelessness of a baseball game. For me it brings back memories of our dad on a Saturday afternoon, chores done, relaxing in the back yard listening to Gil Hodges and Lon Simmons announce a Giants game. Dad came by his love of the team honestly; his mother used to sit in her apartment sporting a Giants cap, cheering them on through thick and thin. I don’t think she ever missed a game – she transitioned from a huge radio in a wooden credenza, to portable radios, to television. She never saw a Giants game in person until age 70, when our brother, Jack, treated her to a day at Candlestick. He bought her a new cap, a hot dog, peanuts and a beer. She was in Heaven – surely the highlight of her life. And to this day we all love hearing Jack reminisce about that day.
So I’m glad that baseball season is here. In full disclosure, I won’t actually watch a whole game until the playoffs. My husband, who is an
obnoxious Yankees fan, can’t sit through a whole game either. But we have an entire summer ahead of us to catch snippets of games and root for our teams. Ideally the Giants sweep the Yankees in the Series. Such are the dreams of springtime.
P.S. So many of you have written or inquired about Dana and we wanted to let you know that she is doing GREAT! She is an amazing young woman who has a wonderful spirit. She’ll be enjoying a few days in Palm Desert this week with family. Nothing could be better for healing a heart. Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and prayers during this time.