I left the Sierra Nevada in the midst of a wintry rainstorm and came back a few days later to spring. The several days I spent in Portland on a business trip were overcast. Portland, in my brief observation, is always threatening rain but never producing. We never saw more than a smattering of drizzle and we never saw more than a vaguely sunny spot behind the clouds.
I was at APPL. It was a great experience, though by the end I didn’t even try to read on the flight home because my brain just wasn’t having it. 14+ hour days of nothing but National Park and nonprofit talk. Meetings and networking and adventuring with vendors and other NP conservancy or association employees. Educational sessions on everything from managing different generations to effect store layout to giving employee feedback. Helping to pick out new books and products to review or order and turning down many more. Lots of coffee, lots of good food, lots more socializing than I’ve done in the past 2 years all put together. Not much nature involved besides the small city-block park across the street from my hotel where I saw squirrels, ravens, begging homeless, and – to my greatest surprise – a planted giant sequoia.
It’s good to be back home. And it was great to walk into spring. Yet… I’m not sure I’m quite ready to let go of winter and embrace the hot whirlwind of summer. But ready or not, it’s almost here. For now though, the wildflowers are out at lower elevations. Poppies, owl’s-clover, lupines, blue-eyed gilia, popcorn flowers, and so many more that I’m not on a first-name basis with yet. The manzanita tree outside my front door is in full bloom and buzzing with bees and hummingbirds. And the yellow-rumped warblers are almost in their full summer plumage.