Overnight, a hundred buds opened and out came butterflies with stems. This is magic. You can't convince me otherwise. How could this ever be an ordinary thing, this silent unfolding, exquisite perfection nearly gone unnoticed.
All afternoon, the late summer heat intensified and the air compressed, exhausting the ground of moisture. The oaks looked desperately dry, as they do in September, the dirt around their roots hard as a rock and devoid of water. A heavy ocean swell rumbled in the distance hour after hour, a fine haze of drifting mist veiled the hills, born of tons of smashing salt water battering weary granite and sand.
Summer has burst upon the west coast like a switch thrown by a startled stage hand caught sleeping on the job. It's very hot. The whole state is flattened under intense heat, a high-pressure atmospheric blast that will last until there's a shift of some other low-pressure air somewhere else. Then the air will lift or settle and move on, and we'll cool. It's a timeless form of magic that feels like an easing, a transformation of invisible scope and dimension.
After the temperature rose today, in the hours after the butterfly flowers emerged, tradesmen hammering, sawing, scraping or dishwashers rattling pots in hot kitchens looked up at the sky, wiped their brows and remarked about the spike of heat. From the south, in a sympathetic gesture, nature sent a bevvy of clouds to shield the coast from the relentless sun. They tumbled in a slow flight, turning and changing until they captured the sun itself, blushing pink, ochre and amber, an unmistakable magic spread across the darkening twilight sky.
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way