Tag Archives: creeks

Breakfast by the creek.

It’s invigorating to get outdoors in the springtime, at least, when we aren’t having cold winds and cloudy days. Last Saturday when Liam and Laddie were here, they collected manzanita berries from my bush and made pies.

Every time I go to church lately, something new is bursting with color. A type of salvia I haven’t seen elsewhere has flowers that glow like jewels:

And the California poppies! I feel that own garden will not be truly complete until these orange poppies are blooming in it — but I am a little afraid to throw out the seed and have them grow like weeds.

This morning, I took a walk by the creek. You might guess from my shadow that I am shaped like a bug. But I assure you, I more closely resemble a human.

From the bridge I heard a toad croaking;
blue jays were busy about something, hopping around in the trees.
Many other birds were singing and chirping. I don’t know who they were.

blackberry flower

I had set out before having breakfast, or so much as a glass of water. Uh… forgot that I can’t do that anymore. The squirrel scrabbling up and down a tree contrasted sharply with my slowing gait.

Besides the many wild things growing along the path, there are the backyard plants that have climbed over the fences. Like this trumpet vine:

 

privet
honeysuckle

Oh, the banks of honeysuckle were sweet! But I’m afraid they didn’t make a proper energizing breakfast, no matter how deep the whiffs I inhaled. And I stopped so many times to frame pictures with my phone’s camera, my excursion grew longer and longer…

Salsify is opening its puffy blooms.

I think the Queen Anne’s Lace must bloom six months of the year. It is already bearing fully opened flowers, as well as these darling younger ones:

When I finally got home, it didn’t take long to satisfy my body’s need for fuel.
My soul had already had a full breakfast!

Little corner of my world.

9-13-img_3252Along these lower creekside paths in my neighborhood, maintenance vehicles may drive when they are taking care of things. Recently I had seen one down there that didn’t look very official, an unmarked white SUV, just parked, with no crew around, and I wondered… who? Yesterday I saw it again, driving slowly along, then stopping, then creeping forward, and then at one pause a man got out, and I backtracked so I could talk to him across the channel, as he was lifting away a dead branch.

He said he worked for the water agency, and that as they clean out out the creek beds in preparation for winter, they want to preserve bird nests. He was marking any he found, so they would be spared.

That explains the desecration I saw a couple of weeks ago, seemingly random messes where it looked like elephants had trampled across the streams in places. Now I’m guessing it was humans with some heavy equipment for cutting trees and carrying them off.

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Looks like pennyroyal.
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This old willow tree is a familiar friend.

These watercourses that flow from the hills are natural parts of the geography, but they also carry groundwater from the neighborhoods on either side, so it is a constant labor to preserve the ecology of the stream and keep it open, while not turning it into a mere drainage ditch. Occasionally they have to dredge out silt, and the stream looks momentarily ravaged, but quickly the willows and horsetail grass and myriad shrubs and vines start to fill in again. The egrets and mallards and frogs don’t get lost.

Darkness hangs on later these days, so I start my walks later in the morning. Today men with chain saws were already down in the dry areas of the creek bed as I walked by. One man was carefully grooming the lower parts of a small tree, getting it prepared for such time as fast waters will flow past. Let there not be any branches on which to hang debris and start the clogging-up again.

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Looking down from a bridge.

It’s been such a gift this summer to walk almost daily on these paths so close to my house. Each morning or evening the views are slightly changed, the birds and flowers presenting new events to witness. As the days shorten and the weather becomes a little less friendly, I hope I can still get myself down there often, and keep learning about this small corner of my world.

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The nature of my neighborhood.

bike path cb rose 5-15 On the paths that crisscross my neighborhood, there are wild things down by the creek, and tame things that hang over the back yard fences. This Cécile Brunner rose was a welcome sight; I stopped for a spell to pull a branch down to my face and sniff. We removed our own C.B. not long ago so I’m thankful to share this one, glad the owner doesn’t mind, or doesn’t notice, it trailing in a friendly way over the fence.

bike path new redwood 5-15
Coast Redwood

 

 

I’m trying to try, to resist my sedentary ways and go for more walks in the neighborhood, just normal brisk walks — or slower if my camera is along — of the sort humans have liked to do in many times and places, before the days when so many of us had gym memberships.

bike path bridge 5-15

 

 

 

 

 

After passing by several tall Coast Redwood trees with bright new needles, about five minutes from my house I come to a bridge across the creek. It crosses right where two creeks come together, right in the middle of town.

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From the bridge there’s a view of the unpaved path closer to the creek, where you can walk free of bicycle and stroller traffic.

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Roses, honeysuckle, figs and potato vine hang over the fences at various points.

This fig tree used to dangle its fruit lower down where I could actually eat some in season, but now it’s too tall.

 

bike path fig against sky 5-15

Where the path intersects a major road I like to look down from another bridge to see this lush growth in the creek bed. After the creek bed dries up in the middle of summer, the fennel and blackberries and willows will still be making it green down there, and eucalyptus trees will hang over the paths for shade.

bike path down into ck from sl

When I turn around and cross to the east side of that road, I can look up toward the hills that are the source of those creeks. On this morning the fog was staying late up there, so you can’t see the tops of the hills.

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But in this next picture you can see the line of trees revealing where one creek runs down.

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There’s a giant old rosebush at the edge of the field, which makes some lovely blooms in spite of being neglected by men.

 

 

Sn Ln giant rose bush indiv 5-15

bike path salsify May 15
salsify

I’ve seen two varieties of salsify along the path this spring — or at least two colors. A mountain woman friend of mine used to dig salsify roots to cook for a vegetable, but I never think about that plant until the flowers are blooming, at which point I’m pretty sure the roots would be tough.

My walking loop brings me past the neighborhood school and park, where our children used to climb these redwood trees — no mean feat — in the days before the city started trimming off the lower branches.

bike path morning May 15

And then I’m passing by that first bridge again, and almost home. If I haven’t stopped to take too many pictures, it’s only taken me an hour.

bike path lavender vine 5-15