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Enjoy today as pennies fall from heaven
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A long time ago
A million years BC
The best things in life
Were absolutely free.
But no one appreciated
A sky that was always blue.
And no one congratulated
A moon that was always new.
So it was planned that they would vanish now and them
And you must pay before you get them back again.
That’s what storms were made for
And you shouldn’t be afraid for
Every time it rains it rains
Pennies from heaven.
Don’t you know each cloud contains
Pennies from heaven.
You’ll find your fortune falling
All over town.
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down.
Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers.
If you want the things you love
You must have showers.
So when you hear it thunder
Don’t run under a tree.
There’ll be pennies from heaven for you and me

– From the lyrics to Bing Crosby’s “Pennies from Heaven.”

The air is crisp and clean.

Mother Nature is chilling out one more time.

And while she’s at it, she’s delivering a blustery wet kiss.

There are signs, though, that warmer days are on the way.

The striking barebone skeletons of deciduous trees will soon awaken from their winter slumber en mass. For now, though, a few hardy trees are setting buds on their stark and clean branches. A few – including early varieties of almonds – are already starting to bloom. It won’t be long until the air around Manteca, Ripon and Escalon is filled with one of nature’s most intoxicating scents – almond blossoms – as tens of thousands of acres of almonds show off their white and pink coats.

You won’t be able to miss the show in a couple of weeks as virtually everything around Manteca explodes in shades of green, white, pink, and virtually every other color under the rainbow. Soon nature’s kaleidoscope will be impossible for anyone – even those completely self-absorbed - to miss.

It’s a shame to wait until the day where you all of a sudden realize an amazing transformation has taken place. Nature, though, doesn’t go from zero to 100 mph overnight.

The true magic is now underway.

Waiting for warm weather to take a walk, jog or bicycle means you miss out on the daily treat of watching rebirth take place. One day you’re walking under a barren tree, the next it’s budding, and then - without warning – it’s bursting forth in bloom.

Those who start gardening in the dead of winter are rewarded with a show that farmers through the ages have learned to appreciate. What seems like mere sticks start coming to life before your very eyes.

First a small swelling appears on a branch. The next day it may turn green. Then a day or two later it grows bigger. Before you know it, a small bud pops out into full bloom.

It happens every year at this time but unlike mind-numbing reruns or playing the same video game over and over, nature changes with the passing of time.

That tree planted as a small bare root twig in time can grow stately. Its branches can grow strong enough to support a tire swing or kids building a tree house. Its massive canopy can lower the temperature beneath it by 10 degrees in the relentless Central Valley summer sun.

Birds will joyfully go about their business fluttering from one branch to another. Those same branches may produce fruit or nuts or they may just sway in the gentle breeze providing a visual relief to the symmetric world of a residential neighborhood.

It is made possible in part by winter and today’s blustery weather.

So grumble all you like about today’s storm. Just remember Mother Nature is collecting pennies from heaven to pay big dividends as we head into spring.