I don't have any memory of admiring flowering trees before I moved to Japan. Until I had lived in Los Angeles, I had no appreciation for how green my home state of New Jersey can be.

If you're around people who take notice of the little things, it rubs off on you. You suddenly start to see these things in such clear detail as if you've just gotten a new prescription in your eyeglasses. When you're around people who just take things for granted--people who don't see beauty in everything that makes up this reality--it becomes a challenge not to get sucked into that state of mind.

San Diego seems to be full of these trees that for most of the year look quite barren. Then suddenly they become an explosion of purple. They are neither common in Japan nor New Jersey. I'm red-green colorblind, and perhaps because (or maybe in spite) of this, purple comes across as extra vibrant to me.

Maybe people who have lived in Southern California all their lives don't notice these trees that litter that landscape with lavender. All I can see is a natural wonder worthy of a celebration.