Driving down from Tahoe the other day, we had the most extraordinary experience. Within the space of a few hours, we went straight from the depths of winter into the height of spring — all in the same good old state of California.

When we left Tahoe, it was still mostly white, with the thaw just beginning to hit the black south-facing hills and surfaces. Even as we came further down, the earth was dead and blasted, not yet recovered enough from the choking weight of the snow to be growing anything.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, there was green. The trees had bright new growth on their tips, the cherry and apple trees were in full bloom, poppies and lupins lined the roadway in a fabulous riot of color… it was magnificent, and so vibrantly beautiful that it almost hurt to look at after three days spent in the white, monochromatic mountains. It was like coming alive.

God I love this state.