[Tweeters] Subtle Seasons

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Jan 17 17:06:00 PST 2015

Well, you're in North America looking for spectacular fall color, cold brilliant blue-sky- and -snow winters, a rapid rush of spring, and sultry summers replete with loud insect choruses. Well, if you came to Puget Sound country honey, you came to the wrong place.

That's because things are done differently around here. If you stick around, you might learn some lessons about subtlety though.
Yes, it mostly true, that this part of the world has some of the slowest, mushiest , and subtle seasonal changes found anywhere in the world at a similar latitude. Take fall for example, please.
Fall color here in Port Townsend this year definitely qualified as underwhelming - it ain't New Hampshire folks. The Big-leaf Maples barely showed anything, and the Red Alders are fall party poopers wherever you go. The Scouler's Willow,( that interesting upland willow) turned a nice old gold color, as did the understory of Ocean Spray shrubs. Kinda subtle though. The Honeysuckle vines add bits of bright red berries in the woods, as do Nootka Rose hips in more open spots. Snowberries add some bright white lights, and the Tall Mahonia leaves turned their beautiful burgundy color for winter. A lot of these colors persist now - technically winter.
And that's the thing - fall things persist into winter, winter things persist into spring , and it all takes so long to change, that when summer finally does happen ( if it feels like it) it can kind of seem like a dream.
Right now, early January, the Hazel's (native and not) are already blooming, the Indian Plum shrubs are showing green buds, and if this turtle weather keeps up, the Chorus Frogs (aka tree frogs) will soon be croaking up a storm. Winter, spring- what season is it really?
Why are things this way? Well, because we happen to be located next to our worlds largest hot water bottle, the Pacific Ocean, and her appendage, the Salish Sea. OK, so she's cooled off a bit near our shores, but does keep us from being Maine West.
Luckily, Mother Nature provided us local yokels with seasonal options around here. Thanks to her Geology Department, tall mountains have been installed in our area, which creates a lot of variety. All you gotta do for better fall colors is head away from the salt water and into the hills, where the local maples, etc. get some color. Want snow? We got more than almost anybody, just a short drive away. How great is it? OK,so it frequently resembles concrete - you can't always get what you want.
Spring in the mountains, is compressed due to continental influences, as is summer and fall, so if you do want some seasonal drama, mama, it can be experienced nearby. Just sayin'.
Jeff Gibsonpoking along inPort Townsend Wa

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