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Sunday, August 28, 2011


Another Summer Rushing Past


Naked Ladies aka Belladonna Lillies (Amaryllis belladonna)

If Clarkias are called 'Farewell to Spring' then Naked Ladies deserve to be described as 'Farewell to Summer'.  Here in the San Francisco Bay area they begin to be noticeable  in August and are gone in September. For a brief period the tall, slender stalks with lovely pink blooms catch our eyes and make us think.  Of what?  Well, that depends on who you are.  For me, the thoughts are about summers past; walks on the beach at Pajaro Dunes; graduation parties; hikes on trails in the foothills and in the Sierras; alfresco lunches under Oak trees;  dry, brown landscape and autumn rains soon to follow.  Bitter-sweet.

                                                Naked Ladies I, Parrott Drive, San Mateo, CA
                                                                       © Musafir - Canon S5 IS

Naked Ladies I, Parrott Drive, San Mateo, CA.
                                                                            © Musafir - Canon S5 IS

         Naked Ladies II, Parrott Drive, San Mateo, CA.
© Musafir - Canon S5 IS

During recent walks on Parrott Drive, San Mateo, saw Naked Ladies in a number of front yards.  It is hard to appreciate them driving past in cars.  A clear sign that another summer will soon be behind us;  the Autumn equinox is less than a month away, on September 23rd.  Schools are open; Labor Day weekend is around the corner.  After the picnics and barbecues are over, the 'end of summer' feeling will sink in if it has not already done so. 

Here is the late Philip Hamburger's superb description of end of summer which appeared in The New Yorker some years back.
A piercing blue sky, gentle ocean breeze, low humidity, clean air. But what Seamus Heaney has called "the ache of summer" is increasingly palpable. Darkness will clamp down earlier and more suddenly this evening--one moment a rich, haunting Maxfield Parrish blue, the next pitch-black and night. Hard to face, but wouldn't you know, summer is ending and it is time for memories...Night is falling. There is a chill in the air. Winter will come. And go.
          Philip Hamburger © The New Yorker


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