Pandemic Stories #4: The Weekend of Spring

It’s difficult to define the seasons in LA. It’s a recurring topic amongst transplants, or rather complaint, that the city lacks the natural markers of other places. I would argue they have not yet observed the subtlety of the local flora and fauna, as they speed through daily life. Seasons often feel like short eruptions to the natives, characterized by a particular species living and then dying in an accelerated timeline. In a city that is constantly groomed for perfect intensions, both inside by domestics and outside by gardeners, even during a world health crisis, it’s easy to miss nature’s cycles if you don’t stop moving, or if merely you’re afraid of standing still.

The end of May is always signaled by the blossoming of the jacarandas, a majestic and sticky affair. For a week or sometimes just a long holiday weekend, the dripping purple flowers cling to every surface they encounter, car windshields, the pavement, the soles of your shoes, even your hair as you wander under them, their moody weeping so incessant that protective homeowners cover their cars to protect their windshields from the sticky sap of the season. One year, I left for a weekend and returned to find my car enveloped in the dried glue gun-like sap, and spent the rest of the week scrapping it off with every type of object, but most effectively with a razor blade, a stark reminder that with the spectacle of the season comes the threat of violence. But as I quietly wander the streets this year, masked through blossoming neighborhoods on a quiet Saturday morning, I think the jacarandas are a brief memento of May, literal proof that spring does exist in this urban desert I call home.

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