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