This weekend I had the unusual experience of having separate visits back-to-back with the families of two of my children: one on Friday midday, the other Friday night and Saturday. First Soldier and Joy invited me to meet them at Tilden Park in the Berkeley hills, a place I’ve been a few times in my life, most notably as a Brownie attending day camp there in ages past.
This park covers more than 2,000 acres, which makes it twice as vast as Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, which already is 20% larger than New York’s Central Park. Within its boundaries you can find wilderness areas, a lake and a golf course; ride the merry-go-round or horses, and feast on great views of San Francisco Bay. We only had time to focus on three pleasures.
Our first fun was riding the little steam train that winds around among the oaks and conifers. Liam took careful note with a serious countenance of the scenery going past, but Laddie has little patience for sitting still, so he was glad to get off again and run. We soon were picnicking on pasties and lemon cake that Joy had brought, and then decided to look at the botanical gardens.
These gardens were founded in 1940 and have well established and extensive paths and plantings. Even though it is late summer, we found many flowers and things to look at, but we all imagined coming back in the spring to see it when it is not so dry.
It showcases California native plants, from all over the state, which are often grouped in habitats imitating their natural homes, such as a redwood forest and a mountainous granite slope.
Since a couple of our party were people who need their naps, and I had the nasty three o’clock rush hour traffic ahead of me, we weren’t able to ramble long enough to feel completely satisfied in our explorations, so I think we all want to return another time. Hugs good-bye, and home I went.
A couple of hours after I arrived home, Pearl’s family came to visit, all but one. The oldest is in the process of flying out of the coop, so their numbers are diminished. We had a relaxed visit, especially for the first twelve hours or so, and then we drove out to Bodega Bay for lunch and hiking.
We also couldn’t do everything we’d have liked. The Marine Lab is closed on Saturdays, and we had hoped to visit there. But we did go out on Bodega Head and hike up to the bluffs – what a gorgeous day we had for it! The Northern Coast is foggy a lot in the summer, until August and especially September when you can hit more pleasant weather. Today was not too warm, and the breeze didn’t turn into wind. We could do without our sweaters most of the time.
Out here nothing is getting watered, and the hills were a dull brown. I kept thinking of the sign from the park yesterday. But as usual, I found many specimens of plants that interested me, mostly old friends. Because I’m planting a new garden, and hope to have a greenhouse in it, I broke off some of the crackly seed pods from the big yellow lupine bushes, and dropped them into a pocket of my purse. Maybe I can get them to grow at home.
Pearl and Maggie and everyone departed in the afternoon, and I went to Vespers, which is always a blessing; but on a day when I’ve been out in nature it is especially lovely to hear Psalm 104 which always opens the service, with its mention of the watery depths, the birds and mountains, trees and grasses, and how God lovingly provides for all of us.
All creatures wait on thee to give them their food in due season.
When thou givest to them, they gather it up;
When thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good things.
How manifold are thy works, O Lord!
In wisdom hast thou made them all…
Yes, this has been my experience.