PETAL-FREE BUT FULL OF FLOW: The lover of nature, that person in constant need of outside connection, can plan much of her or his calendar by what is blooming or what is decaying. Those "whats" very often have petals and leaves, the items where we can observe the bloom or the fade, and we watch for signs and reports that foliage is nearing its peak color in the fall or that meadow blossoms are doing that full on, carpet-cool blossom thing. But there are many other natural superstars that tell the tale of the seasons, of course, and they do not arrive on the scene bearing either petal or leaf. Yep, the moon helps us here, and the sun, and the shadows and the lengths of day. Wind picks up in parts of the California desert come spring, and a number of named tidal events are notable for their annual appearance along our shores.
AND THEN THERE'S YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, which has all of the shadows and moonbeams and leaves and petals one could want, but one other major seasonal signifier, too: waterfalls. You don't need to go digging too deeply around Google, or the search engine of your choice, to figure out when the falls around Yosemite Valley start to look robust (well, fingers and weather reports crossed, of course). You can guess that springtime, following winter snows, is go time for the water-meets-gravity show. And you'd be right. And while snow has been rather hard to come by, in certain parts, this winter, the park reports that some recent rain has been a friend to the falls, in February no less, ahead of actual springtime.
THREE INCHES OF RAIN: The park posted on Facebook that "three inches of rain" had given Yosemite Falls a boost over the first full weekend of February. You can watch this falling wonder on its webcam or keep an eye for more reports from waterfall season, which'll get cooking -- or bubbling, perhaps -- a little further into springtime. Who says only leaves and petals can tell the seasons? (Though, surely, great rushing water has seen its share of leaves and petals floating along, poetically.)