Spring Turns to Summer (2004)
The thermometer in my car tells me it's 74º outside. A perfect temperature for a spring day, but these are spring's closing minutes. Around me I hear the sounds of baby birds demanding to be fed, and see their parents looking at me suspiciously as I pass. I keep walking and they go back to their feeding.
I worry about them. West Nile Virus is in the East end of L.A. County, and coming west quickly. It's a death sentence for some birds. They should be thankful they aren't crows. West Nile cuts down crows like fire in dry grass. It is a problem I will have to face myself as mosquito season continues and the Full Moon draws me back out here. I remember the crow I shared my lunch with just before spring came. I hope it stays well.
Merlin is at the top of Procession Hill. Some members of his group are still walking the path that leads there. If they want to make it before summer comes they're too late. If they are here just to acknowledge the change of season then they have lots of time. This is, after all, midsummer's night; a time of mystery and magic. For myself and many others tomorrow is midsummer's day, the "and a day" of the old way when "A year and a day" was the cycle of the seasons. Others, including Merlin, use a different calendar.
Ritual is a comfort for mankind, linking us to something outside ourselves and thus to a type of immortality. Surprisingly few cars are gathered where the members of Celestial usually collect. Maybe some of them are in the regular parking lot. Maybe some will gather later.
There is a hint of a breeze as I walk. I am here to say goodbye and thank you to spring. My own summer ritual will be tomorrow at noon; the first noon after summer begins. Sunrise for spring, Noon for summer, Sunset for autumn, and Midnight for winter. The wheel turns, the seasons change, and then around to do it again. As it was before I was here, as it shall be when I pass. Tonight I, too, shall frolic with friends and spend time with my children, now five months old.
It's Father's Day today. Thoughts of my father as I walk. He would have liked it here. He passed in 1975, but my memories are still strong. Maybe today would be a good day to pay a visit to his grave. It's not too far from here.
The sky is blue but the horizon is hazy. The sun is high in the sky, with sunset still some hours off. I smile at other hikers as we pass each other on the path. It's just that kind of day.
I am at the front gate of Paramount Ranch. This is the photograph I came here to take, this place where I enter so many memories. Spring comes at 5:57 PM by some estimates. My Ephemeris says 5:59:10. It doesn't matter. The time will come, no matter what we choose to call it.
I raise my hand to shade the lens of my camera. I glance at my watch, and then back into my viewfinder.
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