March 13, 2021

Sneak peek at spring 2021, Descanso Gardens, 1/16/2021 (majestic purple ink with Inktense pencils on Canson Mix Media paper)

If you are still climbing out of some unbelievably punishing winter weather, I am so sorry. I hope you can take some minor comfort knowing that spring has been on its way for weeks now. If you have suffered beyond measure with COVID I hope you can take heart that change is coming and visible in every new flower bud and light green growth on bare branches. Or if you feel like you’ve been waiting for something new and good, maybe sunshine really is just around the corner. Based on weather reports I am seeing today, that may seem just so far away for you. And I am sorry.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve been looking for spring and a reason for a more hopeful summer. As I live in SoCal I know I’m lucky to be able to go outside in winter and not worry about freezing to death. I was out looking for signs of spring when I went to the Descanso Gardens on January 16, 2021. If you are a member and can get there at 8am, you and other members are the only ones allowed in. Members can be there all day at any time. However, non-members must make reservations and those reservations begin at 9. As there are fewer people walking around at 8 or 8:30, I am happy to get up early to share the garden at a time when there are more birds, squirrels and bunnies than people. It was a pretty cold morning on the 16th, but I put on lots of layers, my fingerless gloves and walked through the gate a little after 8. There was fog hanging onto the ground and it was just too frigid to even consider looking for a place to sit and sketch. Even though I had my bubble wrap to sit on, I knew that just wasn’t going to work. I was so happy to came across this blooming pinkish iris. I walked right up to it, opened my backpack and began sketching on the spot—one long continuous marvelous and majestic purple ink line. I scribbled on some Inktense pencil as well, but added water when I got home. We are pretty lucky here in SoCal to have flowers that are blooming even in the middle of January. In fact, the Descanso has some old huge camellias shrubs under the old huge oaks and I could see many light green flower buds on the Camellia branches. They usually bloom in February in CA. Most of the oaks are live oaks which means they don’t loose their leaves. But even those trees were showing new green growth. Yeah!

Sneak peek at spring 2021, Descanso Gardens, 2/15/2021 (majestic purple ink with Inktense pencils and watercolor on Canson Mix Media paper)

I went back the next month and was again looking for a sneak peek of spring. Again, there was fog clinging to much of the ground in the rose garden and it was again too cold to sit and sketch. But the minute I came upon this lovely vignette, I stopped in my tracks and took out my sketch pad and marvelous majestic purple ink pen. And again I rooted myself to that spot and I sketched this lovely pinkness with green trim using continuous contour lines. (I think there might be more than one contour line here…) If you’ve never seen a tulip tree (Magnolia Soulangeana), they are really something, and can only have these amazing flowers in winter. It’s part of the magnolia family and the blossoms are huge. The maple leaf hydrangea wasn’t yet blooming, but the leaves had an almost a pinkish glow in that early morning ground fog. 

Sneak peek at spring 2021, Descanso Gardens, 3/6/2021 (majestic purple ink with Inktense pencil on Canson Mix Media paper)

So, a week ago I was so hopeful to get more than a sneak peek of spring. I was sure there’d be at least some tulips blooming. Well, a couple deep purple ones tulips were present, but most were still pushing up through the ground as green spikes strips. There were lots of different kinds of blooming daffodils in clumps around, as well as some bright yellow drifts of King Alfred daffy down dillys. For this little vignette of blue borage, purple wallflower and bright orange CA it was just warm enough for me to sit on my sheet of bubble wrap and sketch. Making some spring 2021 progress. Guess I have to wait a bit longer for the big flower show.

March 13, 2020 

You may or may not be wondering what was significant about this date. Well, for all of us who work for LAUSD, it was the last day that students and staff were all together at school. Since then, all learning for our students has been done at home online and virtually. Yes, it’s been a year. Was March 13, 2020 significant for you or your family? I guess for my speech pathologist brethren, March 16, 2020 was also a day to remember. On Monday, March 16, 2020, I voluntarily attended my first Zoom session with over 40,000 other speech therapists across the country. There was no charge for this online event. We were to learn about how to provide virtual speech and language therapy. It was an entire day of tele therapists sharing with all of us how we were going to proceed until we could all see our students in the flesh and face to face again. I remember at the end of the day one of the organizers saying it was the largest ever online voluntary gathering of people for a single purpose. She even said that what we had done that day could probably qualify us for some kind of Guinness World Records record. But honestly, I don’t think anyone wanted to make that day seem special in any way. And I don’t remember hearing back from that person as to whether or not our amazing event would be considered for any kind of world record. I think we were all overwhelmed with what was ahead of us, and really couldn’t see any kind of reason to celebrate. So, I choose to celebrate the coming of spring 2021. Can I get an amen?

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