Lillies., originally uploaded by Here in Van Nuys.

Every summer, the lilies pop up in this part of the country, and bring their bright colors to a mostly shaded background of dappled woods and stone walls.

This was the high point for me, the most glorious moment in the short summer. A few weeks after they bloomed, the lilies would fade, and then we would be in August, anticipating autumn, and school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter.

That is why living in Southern California is so very strange. The guideposts of American life, the seasonal markers, are missing. Life and spring, with their promise of renewal and rebirth, go on month after month. The roses bloom in December, the leaves drop in February and reappear in March. Nature is marinated in formaldehyde, and the living things, humans and plants, are retouched, as if by digital process, to stay in bloom year around.

I don’t think this is natural. The “depressing” months, back East, if one chooses to think that way, when the leaves and temperatures drop and the ice and snow and slush surround us, are a breather for the planet. We need cold weather, yes we do. It is unnatural and unhealthy to live in heat and sun all the time.

That’s why I relish every thunderstorm this summer in New Jersey. Because when I return to Los Angeles in August, I will leave the rain and the short lived lilies behind in New Jersey.

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