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Spring Has Sprung

Although I've lived in mostly temperate California for five years (and lived in another sunny state for a few years before that), I'm a child of the Midwest and to this day find myself tuned into the seasons. Instead of a fluctuation in mood that commonly accompanies really strong seasonal changes in cities like my hometown (Chicago), now it's subtle things--such as waking up and feeling like wearing a light-blue shirt instead of a charcoal one--that signal the advent of spring.

The past few days have found me pulling the light-colored clothing from the backs of drawers and closets and wanting to go out and soak up the sun. (Hm... a drive along the PCH with "Soak Up the Sun" playing sounds kind of nice.)

Today, I even felt like taking a Saturday-morning walk, which is a rarity. I hardly ever say, "You know what I feel like doing? Breaking a sweat," and that is even less likely on a Saturday. Really, I am the King of the Lazies and always would much rather be comfortablly burrowed into a cushiony, blanketed sofa with my laptop, but I realize the necessity for exercise and so do it.

Anyway, I decided to bring along my camera on a search for some inspiration. (This is also a rarity, since, as King of the Lazies, I'd rather not be weighed down by two or three pounds of camera.) There are so many panels of greenery, wildflowers, and roses springing up that I can already feel the shift in my design mindset and palette for the next few months.

One thing that always catches my eye is the "hairy" looking cactus various neighbors keep in pots and gardens right near the sidewalk. I've heard that these fuzzy beasts--which looks so soft they almost beckon you to pet them--are the worst kind of cactus to encounter. (I'm sure there exists some crazy venom-spewing monster cactus in this world, but in the meantime... let's accept that the furry one is scary.) I've had a couple of cactus accidents, and it doesn't make sense for people to keep them near the sidewalk. You trip, you fall, you simply take a wide step to get out of the way... and wham! Instantly ingrown hairs.

Here's a neighbor's pot of cacti that features two of the deadly hair ones. Although I'm mortified at the thought of falling on one, I always have to remind myself not to reach out and grab one, just to feel (as I tend to do with leaves, stems, and buds). Dumb, huh?


I was thinking that this whole concept--making something look simultaneously scary and friendly--would be an interesting design or illustration challenge. I'm going to think on it the next couple of days and figure out some imagery that gets across the idea... while informally premiering my spring palette.