Spring or Storm?

January first the new year comes in whether or not we’re ready. We’ve been out walking most days, as the weather forecast is for strong winds and heavy rain later this week. It’s been cold for this region, low 50s, high 40s during the day and occasional frost at night. This is nothing compared to the annual week or so of -10 we usually planned on in Chicago, so we add another layer and go out.

Most surprising to me this week is the suggestion of spring that we’ve seen all around us. Magnolia buds are about to burst open. Calla lilies are greening up; I saw two that already bloomed in a sheltered corner of downtown. Certain shrubs have bright red bark. I call them all redbud since I’m not that good at plant ID.

Sunset has already pushed a few more minutes into our day. The winter solstice was two weeks ago, and I notice that we can stay out until 4:45pm before we notice the failing light. We’ve definitely turned a corner. The photo at the top of this post was taken about that time. The rays of light and cloud always remind me of two things, sunset photos by Eliot Porter that were everywhere when we lived in New Mexico, and “god the father” sunsets: the light and clouds around saints depicted on holy cards when I was in Catholic elementary school. (Holy cards are the size of baseball cards, printed with god or saints in all their glory, often on a cloud surrounded by rays of light.)

As soon as I noticed the plants beginning to flower, the wind picked up and it began to rain. Weather reports showed a huge swirl of white cloud just off the coast. My brother pointed out that of all the cities on the Pacfic coast, the single one identified on the national weather map was Eureka. It’s rained off and on since New Year’s Day.

We look outside in the morning and if it is not already raining, we try to get going for a walk. By lunch time it is usually raining, and sometimes the wind tries to blow loose items around the neighborhood. The cover of our barbecue already blew away once, so now we tighten it and put a few rocks on top. The sun umbrella is stowed in the garage, outdoor chairs lean against the garage, folding chairs folded and piled up. We don’t want to let anything get away.

Waves were forecast to be 20 ft high along the coast, so we drove up to Su Meg State Park to have a look and found the park closed while a crew removed trees that fell across the access road. We turned around and went to Trinidad, figuring an entire town couldn’t be closed. The art gallery was closed, and stores looked pretty closed. It wasn’t until later we found that the town was without power during our visit.

The waves were big, but not impinging on the parking lot, so we stopped and watched the roiling sea. Waves thrown up by a blowhole across the bay topped a very tall rock. It was impressive and interesting to be out. The weather wasn’t all that bad judging by the number of people climbing up to have a look at the waves, walking their dogs, and looking around. After a short hike to look out to sea, we went down to the high tide line to have a look. Sure enough, not five minutes into our walk, a larger wave came in and swamped Jonathan. Wet to the ankles, we decided our visit was over.

Our climb up Trinidad Head was a bit drippy.

Since our day out in the storm, Eureka has been the center of a small spot not getting much rain. We still take our walk early in the day, but generally everyone around us is getting rained on more than we are.

Here we are in far northern California, January is just getting started, we’ve got spring in the air and big waves coming off the ocean. A little of everything.


Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

2 thoughts on “Spring or Storm?

  1. You both are intrepid adventurers! We have lots of family and friends in CA and the Sacramento folks are without power with hundred-year old tree down and rain for 20 days. Will keep sending “good weather vibes” your way!


    1. We are also fortunate! Eureka hasn’t had the rain that areas further south like Sacramento are having. Montecito!!! 8 inches yesterday and 8 more forecast! I can’t imagine it.


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