Purple haze

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Right around Memorial Day, LA emits this otherworldly purple glow. The jacarandas bloom and give way to June Gloom, I thought as I was walking home yesterday, spotting sprays of lavender splotched randomly like graffiti tagging the hillsides. It’s LA’s purple rain, I laughed (yes, this is how I entertain myself while walking around town). But wait, I thought, I wrote all this about jacarandas already, didn’t I?

Didn’t I? I searched my blog a year ago. No. I searched one of the other blogs I had written for in May for the past few years, in the off-chance I had been able to tie a post about purple trees to some pithy statement about effective landscape design (hey, they’re drought-tolerant; it might have worked). Nope. I conducted a full-scale Spotlight search on my computer: JACARANDA. Nothing came up.

It wasn’t until I was searching for an old email today that I remembered: I had created a series of captioned photos and published it to a .Mac page. In 2005. A .Mac page! How quaint!

But because I was so thrilled to rediscover it, I’ve reproduced the entire page’s content below. Remember, it was written in 2005, when I was barely a writer. However, it certainly conveys the way I feel about those jacarandas. Even today.

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Jacarandas are desert-dwelling trees with delicate fern-like foliage.

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For about three weeks in spring, they explode in hot lilac trumpets.

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Providing summer shade and lovely texture, they’re perfect for yards.

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But in LA, you’re more likely to find them lining the streets.

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Jacarandas are huge.

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You’ll never notice them the rest of the year.

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But right about now, they seem to be everywhere you look.

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The slightest bit of wind triggers a shower of blossoms.

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If one falls on your head, it is said to be good luck.

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They cover the sidewalks.

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They cover steps.

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They cover streets.

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And cars.

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They make entire blocks feel like walking on rubber.

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And yards look like they never cleaned up after a surprise party.

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But in LA’s super-steady climate, it’s one of our only signs of summer.

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And it’s the closest most of us will ever get to snowfall.

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  • http://criticalterrain.wordpress.com Alan Rapp

    My family is from Arizona and spent nearly a decade in Argentina. Apparently the blooming jacarandas in Buenos Aires provided comforting continuity to my parents–who tripped out a little that the trees there bloom in December.

  • http://moderndog.com Robynne

    I love this photo essay!

  • Alissa

    Alan, that is so cool! And, thanks, Robynne!

  • Ritamarie

    Alyssa: Love this post – Gorgeous photos!
    Oh Jacarandas, how did I live without you for so many years? Also, the smell of jasmine which will always be my strongest sense memory of LA.

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