It may surprise you, when you read my posts about farmers markets, local foods and community gardening, that there is an event I look forward to every year that some may consider as a wasteful use of natural resources.
Rhododendrons looked like this yesterday at sunset in the bitter near zero cold.
Meanwhile, on New Years Day, 2700 miles (about 4,345 km) away from me, there was hope. There was a promise that spring would come again to upstate New York, one day. In certain parts of the United States, summer had never left.
Or, pink, purple, green, brown and every other color of nature. The Rose Parade has one special rule for its floats. All their surfaces must be covered in organic materials - be they flowers, grasses, moss, seeds, nuts, or other natural materials. Nothing can be artificial.
These pictures of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California (a New Year's Day tradition) were taken off of my television set. One day, I hope to be there in person. It is on my (what we call in the United States) "bucket list".
Others had names loaded with puns - such as this one (So Close yet Safari Away).
One city's float featured a black bear called Meatball who was caught in 2012 after repeated raids on residents' garbage cans. This city, Glendale, struggles with co existing with wildlife in the area, as do so many communities in the United States. Meatball's life will be a good one, living in a sanctuary. But not all of these encounters have happy endings.
I say that beauty in our lives is always part of sustainable living. Sometimes, even in the midst of winter, we need the promise of spring renewal.
Some of us love winter and the beauty of snow.
Me? I can hardly wait for spring.
What about you?