No time to talk…
No time to talk…
The first scent I noticed on my walk this morning was from the mown weeds, drying up and exuding the remembrance of new-mown hay, which I rarely encounter in my life these days.
There were conifers whose oils were being drawn by the warm sun into the air I breathed… and I forgot for a moment that I wasn’t camping in the redwoods with my family, walking on a duff-y path with gigantic trees towering on either side.
Just on the other side of the creek from the “hay,” was the soccer field with its green and rich scent I used to get once or twice a week, as I stood on the sidelines watching my children run kicking down that lush lawn.
And there were flowers hanging over from the back yards, honeysuckle and potato vine, and other flowering vines, all heady-sweet and making me wonder why I should ever think dessert was anything to satisfy.
I’m leaving this honeysuckle photo large because there seems to be a tiny long-winged fly hanging on to one yellow part right in the middle. Do you see it, too?
The most familiar aromatic of my walk must be the oaks, because they are ubiquitous in all the places in California that I have ever lived. I think these are live oaks, with their thorny leaves that cling to any concrete patio, etc. that you are trying to sweep them from.
I think those two pictures above, taken of two different trees, are both live oaks, but one has much more concave leaves than the other.
The last classic aromatic plant I passed before I left the path was roses, the little climbing pink and white ones that spill over the fence and pull me off the path to sniff them or take their pictures again and again. This morning I resolved to come back later with my shears — it’s only three blocks — to cut a few for the house.
“Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice…”
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.
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:
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…
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!
Our city is pretty broke, and you can tell by the changes along the bike path where we often take our walks. Nothing gets pruned anymore. If a large tree branch falls across the pavement, it’s dragged off to the side and left to rot.
Weeds grow up tall and threaten to become a fire danger. Then we notice that they were mostly cut down, apparently by some large machine that doesn’t get the borders of anything.
So to the eye, the landscape is less lovely than before. Not like the countryside, which is normally wild and ungroomed, but like a planted garden that is neglected.
It’s not easy to tell which shrubs were planted decades ago by the city, and which have come over and under the fences of the yards bordering the walkways. The privets are obviously man-planted, and there are rows of the big bushes with hundreds of honeybees drinking at them all right now.
On the last few walks I didn’t notice the raggedness so much because the higher temperatures have brought out the warm aromas of summer, and I was looking around hungrily to discover the source. Mr. Glad and I usually stride along at the fastest pace possible, and I’ve been wanting to get back there by my lonesome to meander with my camera. This morning I did.
There is a lot of this sort of thing, a messy mix of oak, privet, and foxtails. But those foxtails and other grasses are some of the sweetest smells filling the air.
The quietness is lush. Maybe all the children were enjoying the first days without school by sleeping in, or something less wholesome. Other than a couple on their bikes, and one woman walking her dog, I was alone with the songbirds and buzzing insects.
Whatever cut the weeds, it threw layers of the cuttings to the side, on top of the desirable plants, jumbling up the scene even more.
But a flowering vine had escaped from a back yard and made a bright spot in the tangle, and the growing tips of redwood trees always look fresh and clean. There are lots of pretty plants I don’t know the names of; I’m happy they don’t pay any mind to property lines.
This is one that makes red berries for us, to decorate the house with at Christmas. Now is the time for it to make heady aromas. Potato vine was climbing over wooden fences…
…And honeysuckle – While I have to keep after the vine in my yard with clippers, so that it doesn’t take over, along the bike path it can do what it wants, and bless my nose every time I get near.
Looking down toward the creek, you can see past the Queen Anne’s Lace the lower road running under the footbridge. I crunched through stickery stuff to get close to the flower.
I went down to that dirt path for a view of the creek, which is not noticeably flowing at this time of year. Horsetail grass and other more watery plants still grow in the mud.
On my return loop I passed the park where our children used to play soccer, and where they claimed their own particular redwood trees to climb and perch in. There wasn’t much competition from the neighborhood children because it’s a prickly business, climbing a redwood tree.
Years after they abandoned their trees the city began trimming the lower branches. I don’t know if that would make climbing harder or easier.
All these soft comforts of a summer morning were better than breakfast. Next time I’ll try to get out the door even earlier for my sweet treats.