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 . . .”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.)