For many of us in the sun-belt, spring has sprung. For others, like my friend Miss H in Montana, spring has been more elusive. She recently posted a piece called "A Groundhog Moment."
Through writers like her, I’ve become aware of how good we have it here in Southern California. The week of April 5th, I was vacationing with my wife in Oceanside, California. The weather was supposed to be “dismal:” low 60s with some showers. We persevered and only hit rain for 20 minutes in six days. We had a great time.
We were staying in a timeshare just a few blocks from the beach. The public beach close to the pier in Oceanside features two walkways, one on the beach, one up on the bluffs. Walking on the bluffs, I caught a glimpse of a Southern California Groundhog. Here s/he is:
The Southern California Groundhog is really a ground squirrel. These squirrels never really hibernate (because they don't have to), but when things warm up… say in early April… they like to scamper atop the canopy of natal plums to feast on the early ripening berries.
After getting their fill, they might spend some time gazing off at the surfers, who are enjoying glassy peaks of 3 to 5 foot surf in 53-degree water. (You can watch the surf real-time here.)
Besides the surfers, the squirrels enjoy watching the tourists and locals who frequent the pier seen in the distance and the park hidden below the bluffs.
The squirrel’s cousins live up and down the bluffs. Many of these squirrels have relocated from far away places, like Montana, where they are still watching the snow melt while they dream of days with more sunshine than gray. Days like this… in sunny Oceanside, California.
But to be fair, Oceanside does have its perils as indicated on the sign below found just two blocks inland.