Welcome a riotous spring

One thing’s for sure this year: I haven’t heard a single Angeleno get wistful about a “lack of seasons” in SoCal. While our weather is still more temperate than what our Eastern and Midwestern cohorts have faced this winter, our local climate has meant not just oodles of rain, but also hail, winds and even snow… and that’s just in the last week. Seasons we’ve got, and like it used to be, decades ago.

The glorious result of the moisture is that the hills and gardens are alive with just about every blooming thing. The California poppies (our state flower) are showing off in full force, and this is a wonderful time to take a stroll through any of the gardens in the area: the big ones, including The Huntington, Descanso Gardens, the LA Arboretum, and the South Bay Botanic Garden, are all celebrating their abundance of color and planning events around nature’s uproar. There are plenty of ways to get outside and shake off the chill.

Am I really talking about the weather? Why yes, I am.

As an artist, seasonal opulence at this level is an in-your-face reminder of what inspired so many of our creative ancestors: Debussy comes immediately to mind, as so much of his work centered around the natural wonders he found in the world. (The Estampes cycle for piano, and particularly “Jardins sous la pluie”, is a rainy-day essential.) And of course, Aaron Copland, Lili Boulanger, and Charles Ives shared that same vein as well. But don’t forget the songs of Florence Price, the breathtaking power of Thea Musgrave ‘s Turbulent Landscapes (and the beautiful Songs for a Winter’s Evening for soprano and orchestra, on the same CD), or the multitude of other contemporary composers who have found the muse on a leaf, cloud or raindrop… even here in usually sunny Southern California. Hint: There’s a new piece mentioned here that could get you started…

Now get out there and put that natural energy to work: create something!

Have you seen the superbloom?

KCET explains how to enjoy the awe without tromping all over it

Featured image by Sergey Shmidt, via Unsplash

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