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CA calla lily. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

California unfolding: Winter calla lily. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

An East Coast friend says he can’t understand the appeal of California.

During the five years we lived there, he would always grumble, long-distance: “Why on earth would anyone want to live there?”

Then the recession hit and many lost jobs, and for awhile, it seemed he was on to something.

I never ran out of reasons to love the place.

Preoccupied by politics, my friend didn’t want to hear about the calla lilies blooming in January. He didn’t want to hear that they were so abundant in San Francisco, our city, that everyone called them weeds. I was enchanted …

For awhile, political scandals and huge financial losses seemed to confirm my friend’s suspicions about a falling state.

But California is still among the top 10 economies in the world, by any estimation. Its always volatile political climate has settled a little, to permit balanced budgets again, after sweeping cuts.

As a survivor of those slashbacks, I moved to work in another state, then another. I traveled more of California — especially the coast — after we relocated, than I could manage when we lived there.

California lilacs, Crescent City. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

California lilacs at the edge of the Pacific, Crescent City. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

California never loses its appeal, for me.

From its inland deserts to its spectacular coast, it’s always a beautiful place on the edge of America.

Walking this week in Crescent City, I was grateful to spot California lilacs at the start of spring.

Lilacs — in March!

There were surfers in the waves, and families building sand castles on the beach, and a few waders testing the water, with their dogs.

Ah … why would anyone not want to live here?

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