When I woke the other morning the sun, level with my face, was streaming through the sheers on the french doors. I adjusted my eyelids to let a sliver of light through my lashes, and my vision was filled with a shimmering lightshow: tiny, iridescent excelsior vibrating among squiggles of pure, clear light, like being inside an animated abalone shell. Magical. It made me remember the Northern Lights we saw in Sointula (usually undulating streaks of green, but one time a shimmering cerise bowl) and another natural phenomenon I have seen only three times. When atmospheric conditions are just so, you can gaze at a clear, bright blue patch of sky and suddenly, poof, a fully formed little cloud pops out and begins to expand. Then, over there, poof, another one pops out. Poof… poof… It is mesmerizing.
In Paris, March is busting out all over…
>> Clematis in square René LeGall and the Chinese magnolia in our garden (both 7 March). I have seen several Magnolia grandiflora with seed pods, so they must bloom some time; I am looking forward to their lovely lemony scent.
>> Iceland poppies and yellow pansies surround literary critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) in le Jardin du Luxembourg (13 March). Blossoms in square René LeGall (14 March).
>> Daffodils and tulips by le Senat in Jardin du Luxembourg (13 March). Primroses along av des Champs Élysées (19 February; less soil showing in March).
>> Hyacinths and Star of Bethlehem under new rose leaves. Mountain laurel. (Both in square René LeGall, 14 March).
>> Forsythia at Espace Champerret (10 March). Leaves are beginning to replace the blossoms on the flowering quince in our garden (13 March).
>> Evening primrose, Pieris japonica, and Kerria in square René LeGall (14 March).
>> I think these are last season’s ginkgo seeds, but I will have to wait for the new growth for confirmation. Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (Lunch on the grass): the moment it stops raining, Parisians sit outdoors on chairs and, as soon as the grass dries, they fill any pelouse that is authorisée (authorized) or not either explicitly interdite (forbidden) or en repos (resting). Matching pelouses flank this one, and they would have been empty even if they had not been covered with manure, because, oddly enough, French people respect “Keep off the grass” signs (Both, 13 March).