My favourite local microclimate effect is the pink snow globe that will sometimes develop on single blocks, where one street’s cherry blossoms are just ripe enough and the wind just strong enough to make it snow cherry petals.
As if it isn’t enough to regularly find sidewalks blanketed in pink flowers, or legitimate drifts of blossoms in the gutters, sometimes we can walk around in air full of swirly pink flakes that smell like cherries. But only for one block.
Something about Victoria’s proximity to the ocean or our particular collection of hills results in very pronounced weather differences between neighbourhoods or across streets. It’s pretty normal to get simultaneous hail and bright sunshine over different parts of your own yard, even.
Consequently we have cherry trees in bloom in different parts of the city from January through almost to June, one pink block here and one there, as each climate pocket hits peak cherry breeding conditions.
Walking past a single fragrant cherry tree is enough to cheer up most people for a few minutes (especially by moonlight!). I’ve had such a prolonged, steady dose now, after four months of spring, that I’m almost ready to cry sometimes when I walk around the neighbourhood and pass through a block-sized cloud of cherry perfume. I’m saturated.
It’s absurd that this tree blossom marathon is even possible, and we’ve got several weeks to go before the Victoria spring season is over. The chestnut trees have barely started, and I just saw my first lilac yesterday. I might as well be on happy drugs.
I went out for coffee with my friend The Hawk today (a real person, not my spirit animal), and the weather was making it clear that this city was built over a coastal rainforest: windy, rainy, gray. I was grumbling a bit on the way home, in the ritualistic way we complain about weather here, and then I turned a corner and there was a snow globe on Southgate Street.
It was raining flowers harder than it was raining water, and the flip side of the rainy climate was suddenly dominant. We get this surreal rainforest light sometimes, where it’s quite bright, but shadowless because of the cloud filter, and it turns kind of green from reflecting off so many plants. The light makes everything look like it is glowing.
It made me feel a little better about the fact that a couple of generations back, somebody paved over the local cedar groves. At least they put up a ridiculous, Dr. Seussian city, where today, for one block, even the vertical surfaces were getting plastered with airborne flowers. On one side of the street, anyway.
I was just about to formulate some mental joke about how unicorns or winged foxes (maybe a talking spirit bear?) could appear at that moment without surprising me, when a few crows started collecting sprigs of cherry blossoms, presumably for their nests. Close enough! I can’t even process little black birds growing up in a pink nest. It’s sensory overload.
My mum has this old, ceramic mixing bowl that is robin’s egg blue, and when I visit her I just want to put things in the bowl and look at them. Yellow cornmeal, white or brown eggs, red lentils, black olives, buttons, a toad, chocolate milk, anything, as long as it goes in the blue bowl. Today was like that; I wanted to look at these crows poking around in a glowing pink and green lawn forever!