dry but so alive

Annadel park 5-22-15

Thanks to the encouragement of my friend Eleanor, I went outside my usual walking realm this morning on a trail she suggested, and with her along to make sure I didn’t get lost.

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sticky monkey flower


She and I had enjoyed walking together a couple of times, say, ten years ago? but then our lives got busy with expanding family. Now that I don’t have Mr. Glad for a walking companion, various friends with whom I’ve had ongoing and indefinite plans to walk or hike will find me easier to pin down to a date.

We went up into those hills from which streams run down – but we didn’t get near any wet areas this time. The hills had their typical summer parched look, but lots of wildflowers were scattered over the landscape, and the oaks and bay trees had green leaves.   gl annadel lichen on branch 5-15

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oaks safe and dangerous

The poison oak was profuse. This picture shows the leaves with three leaflets of the toxic plant Toxicodendron diversilobum alongside some other oak sprout in the foreground, the “regular” oak having four leaves and a coarser form.

Poison oak is often, but not always, glossy, and it sometimes has these pretty colors, but the easiest way to identify it — except when is leafless in winter — is by the clusters of three oak leaves.   gl sticky monkey rocks tree Annadel

brodiaea elegans


So strange and dramatic to see a densely bright, perfect bloom rising above the pale and crispy grass. Even its name is a contrast to the setting.     fb P1000179 I was shocked when the names of three flowers came to my mind right while I was looking at them! I guess after dozens of instances of entering the same data into my brain, a synapse is finally ignited? I only had to think for half a minute to remember Mariposa Lily and Elegant Brodiaea when we came upon them.


This is a park where I’ve hiked many times, but not much lately. Maybe now that I’ve been reintroduced to its system of trails I might return on my own.

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Mariposa Lily



But I’m afraid this may be the last I’ll see of the spring wildflowers.

6 thoughts on “dry but so alive

  1. Getting out and hiking is a wonderful idea. I have a hard time getting myself outside. I love to sit in my chair and look out the window at the sunshine, but rarely do anything outdoors except when I mow! I probably need to try some new trails? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gretchen:
    I have enjoyed reading your blogs – they are very interesting, as well as educational. I absolutely love your pictures. Your photography is amazing. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Love & Prayers~~Sherry

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Gretchen, I don’t have much to contribute to your blog, except to say how much I look forward to reading them, how much I enjoy them and you, and that I continue to pray for you. Pam

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely walk, I am so glad your friends are walking with you, We have had so much rain in the last few weeks. It is like we are having a real spring. We got thunder and lighting and a cloud burst last night. We broke a record. It has been such a nice May.

    Liked by 1 person

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