Welcome and Happy April Fools’ Day

I suppose April Fools’ is as good as any day to begin this blog. Some historians attribute April Fools’ to, when in 1581, Pope Gregory XIII charged that the old Julian calendar be replaced by the new Gregorian calendar (what hubris!), which also shifted the New Year from April 1st to January 1st. Many people at the time refused to accept the change, or others were just uninformed, so they continued to live their lives as if the New Year was on April 1st. These folks were deemed as fools and, in time, where the victims of tricks and pranks. But, other scholars say that April Fools came about due to the intoxicating power of spring. I like this explanation best. After a long cold winter of staying indoors, ardently struggling with writing my book, and being rather morose, I can no longer deny the force of spring beckoning me to leave all responsibilities and seriousness behind and to join in nature’s frolic.  And, I do feel foolish. Not only because I’m eschewing responsibility, but because I haven’t done this sooner. After six months sabbatical, I haven’t really accomplished a lot, so why not just go where I want to be most – out in the desert?  And so, this morning, waking at 6:00 am, I spontaneously donned my hiking boots, put together a quick lunch, and headed out to Joshua Tree National Park. My hope was to find bighorn sheep down at a watering hole four miles form the trailhead, but I saw no sheep. What I found instead was the outrageous display of spring blossoms, which sent my spirits soaring. Drunk on spring, I put all concerns and worry aside to participate in this festival of color. And then I came upon the Claret Cup Cactus Flower. If there is a a harlot of the botany world, this is it. Lying belly on the ground, I hypnotically gazed into the blood red petals. I was seduced. A total fool, but at last a happy one. – Betsy

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