A White Christmas — Sort Of


Bromeliad

I’d like to say that I sprang from my bed and that away to the window I flew like a flash. Springing from my bed hardly happens these days. There’s a lot of stretching and cracks and creaks that must happen before I can even think of springing.

I’d also like to say that I tore open the shutter and threw up the sash.   My windows don’t work that way. They’re more like sliders — and the only shutters I have are hurricane shutters, and thankfully, there’s no need for them at the moment.

Furthermore, it wasn’t the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow giving a luster of midday to objects below. The only luster here was courtesy of the sun, which had just climbed above the horizon.

Still, as I stumbled from my bed and looked from my shutterless, sashless windows and into the sun-drenched yard, I whispered, “When what to my wondering eye should appear, but . . .”

Snow!

Pollen

Snow?

A fine powdery snow covered the patio pavers, dusted the sword-like bromeliad leaves, clung to the mulch, and caught in the dips and curves of tropical foliage.

Xanadu

Was this a Christmas miracle? Had there been some sort of meteorological anomaly that brought a swift burst of powdery flurries to cover the patio pavers, to dust the sword-like bromeliad leaves, to cling to the mulch, to become caught in the dips and curves of tropical foliage?

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I thought to myself.  “You’re in south Florida, where Christmas is green and air-conditioned.”

Royal Palm

No, the practical joker here was the Royal Palm, a towering cement pillar of a tree in the backyard. My snow was actually the newly opened inflorescence, hundreds and hundreds of tiny cream-colored blossoms that are adored by bees. These small flowers will be pollinated to become seed clusters.

Inflorescence

Inflorescence

The thing is, I fall for this Royal Palm trick every time.

Maybe it’s because I never finished the game I played with myself when I was growing up on Long Island. Each December, I would watch every weather forecast for any hint of a possible snowfall by Christmas. Would this be the year? Could this be the year? On Long Island, a white Christmas was always a gamble. At best, I’d hope for anything but a wet Christmas.

It could also be my love of old Christmas movies.  George Bailey running through the streets of Bedford Falls at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life is much more nostalgic and romantic than if he had dashed down a sandy white beach lined with coconut palms.  That would be silly.

Or maybe my gullibility is my growing awareness that so many Christmas carols are geared for northern Christmases. Since arriving in zone 10, I’ve had a hard time relating to some of my most favorite carols. It’s kind of hard to appreciate a bleak mid-winter when the weather is a not-so-bleak 82 degrees and sunny.

Mulch

Other than “Mele Kalikimaka” and “Christmas on Christmas Island,” there aren’t too many carols that celebrate a green Christmas. Yes, a white Christmas is definitely the stuff of dreams.

But as I stepped outside in my work shorts and a t-shirt to sweep up the snowy pollen from the patio pavers, I chuckled. With each slight breeze and each buzzing bee above, I too was dusted with pollen flurries, and from the corner of my eye — my wondering eye — it appeared to be snow.

(Special thanks to WordPress for the pollen flurries landing on my photos.)

17 thoughts on “A White Christmas — Sort Of

  1. Beautiful “snow” :-). And so heat resistant … (What a lot of “snow flakes” in your garden! The thousands of tiny cream-colored blossoms are amazing!)
    Have a nice Advent season, Kevin!
    -Michèle-

    • Hi Michele. As much as I miss snow at this time of year, I must say the pollen and flowers were much easier to sweep aside. 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! Cheers!

  2. The magical moments of wonder this season appear for us in different forms throughout the years (and geography.) I’m glad you were able to enjoy a gasp of awe and a pitter patter of glee, that thankfully didn’t also make you sneeze (or shiver.)

    • Hi PBM. It’s exciting at this time of year — much like snow. Ask me how much I like these flowers when it’s not Christmas, and the pollen and flowers will look more like styrofoam covering the surface of the pool. 🙂

  3. THAT certainly DOES look like snow in your photos! But the good thing is…. you can merely brush this kind of snow away! No heavy, wet, snow-shovelling your way out of the house in the freezing cold is a good thing!!! We had 70 degree temps here in VA this past weekend – CRAZY weather for a girl from the north to experience in December, but thoroughly enjoyed. Even your cousin was asking, “I’m hanging Christmas lights on the house and it’s 70 degrees out – what’s wrong with this picture?!” Enjoy your warm Advent and Christmas seasons and be Merry! Love you lots!

    • Hi Aunt Pat. The pollen-fall was exciting while it lasted — and it’s certainly easy to sweep away. Right now, it’s quite summer-like, but forecasters have called for a “cold” front, which will drop temps to 80. There will be no dashing through the snow here. 🙂 See you soon!

  4. I was reading on through wondering if somehow there really was a miracle of snow! I have never seen pollen flurries quite like this. Quite amazing! It’s quite beautiful in its own way and I’m just fascinated to see how the bees are attracted, too! Your photos are fabulous. I’m so amused right along with you at how far from White Christmas! you’ve come! I’ve grown up with the same “bleak winter” references yet 80 degree Christmas mornings. Some years I put a fire in the fireplace just because…and then it gets so hot we have to open the front door. 🙂

    • Hi Debra. I’m chuckling right now. There have been gray and rainy days here — and from inside, the weather looks cold and damp. Open the door, though, and it’s hot and humid. I have to do some holiday baking, but I’ll have to lower the air conditioning! I do the same thing when I’m in the mood for a winter meal, like pot roast or stew. Sheesh! 🙂

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