The eternal Spring of the Bay area

San Francisco Bay, the land of eternal springtime: there are flowers in bloom all the year:

“San Francisco is built on sand hills, but they are prolific sand hills. They yield a generous vegetation. All the rare flowers which people in ‘the States’ rear with such patient care in parlor flower-pots and green-houses, flourish luxuriantly in the open air there all the year round. Calla lilies, all sorts of geraniums, passion flowers, moss roses — I do not know the names of a tenth part of them. I only know that while New Yorkers are burdened with banks and drifts of snow, Californians are burdened with banks and drifts of flowers, if they only keep their hands off and let them grow.” (Mark Twain, Roughing It)

At the moment here in San Mateo, the rains have just ended, and for most of twelve hours a day the sun shines out of a cloudless sky, and everything is green and beautiful. The acacia trees are covered in thousands of little yellow blossoms cover acacia trees; bright orange California poppies appear along the roadsides; white flowers, purple flowers, red flowers, there are flowers everywhere.

Nor is the beauty only visual; the rich heavy scent of flowers fills the air. I wheeze and find it hard to breathe; our downstairs neighbor sneezes explosively about ten times an hour; our car is covered with a faint yellow film of pollen and I have to wash the windshield twice a day. It is beautiful in this land of eternal springtime, except that I can’t breathe and the pollen in my eyes makes me want to claw them out. I wish we could have a good hard frost and maybe some snow to end this eternal springtime and kill all these damned flowers.