Most trees are still bare. Winters are milder in California than elsewhere. Even so, the bare branches of the brilliantly hued trees just a few months ago is stark against the skyline. But then, there are early spring heralders that enthrall and enchant. When I am out walking these days, they are often punctuated with rapture – little stops to admire a cherry blossom tree in full bloom, a tulip bulb poking its head out, or snowdrops working its way through the cold hard months and blooming just in time for the spring equinox.
Spring is the best time for a saunter. Californian Springs have the best combination of rainy days, cloudy days, sunny days, warm days, cold days, and windy days. Through it all, there is the breathtaking beauty of the flowering trees. It is hard to imagine an Earth without flowers given how much they brighten our days on Earth. But it wasn’t that long ago that Earth was rampant with life and lifeforms without flowers. Makes us stop and think doesn’t it? What else evolution would have up its sleeve if allowed to go at its own pace. How many creations beautiful, mesmerizing, unknown and somewhat hampered by the limits of our own imagination?
Sitting inside on a cold March day and watching the wind whipping the trees outside, and looking at the petals of the cherry blossom flit towards the earth below is fascinating. On sunny days, the birds pecking at the cherry blossom flowers and sending showers of little petals earthwards is showtime.
I cannot help thinking of the distant lineage of the little birds. Did their dinosaur ancestors see flowers and interact with them? I thought beaks were a particular evolutionary step for nectar. But maybe not. I remember reading that flowering plants only appeared towards the tail-end of the dinosaur’s time on Earth, or maybe even later. I also remember walking along the Natural History Museum time line and thinking that the dinosaurs really missed the marvelous great flowering of planet Earth.
But then again, this recent article seems to think the dinosaurs may have seen flowers after all.
Newfound fossils hint that flowering plants arose 100 million years earlier than scientists previously thought, suggesting flowers may have existed when the first known dinosaurs roamed Earth, researchers say.LiveScience Journal – article linked
Whether or not the dinosaurs saw the flowers, I am grateful we live in an era when we can experience flowers. All the musings of the cosmic accident of life seems glorious in the flowering trees around us. Meadows are bursting with wildflowers. On a little hike near the coastline one day, we saw hillsides filled with golden orange poppies, lupines, and flowers of yellow, white and pink weaving and waving amidst the fresh green of Earth. Set against most trees that are still bare from the winter the flowers are a sharp reminder of all the stark contrasts of life.
We don’t know about all the forms of life possible in our universe, and probably never will find the enormity and possibilities. Yet in that very paradox lies the power of musing.