Shouldering the burden for the future @sonomacountyparks – This coast live oak was so heavy with acorns, its branches, which normally ride 5 feet up, were dragging on the ground. Such abundance comes with a mast year, in which an oak, along with many its local forest mates, will over-produce, allowing many of its acorns to avoid being eaten and sprout.
Earthbound flight – Guara. Sometimes called Whirling Butterflies, guara has long captured my heart. Watching their delicate flower laden stalks dancing in the wind from a hummingbird’s wings, or listening to the hum of insects this generous plant provides for make it a good friend in my garden.
Catching the rainbow – raising the spirits of a sick child often requires some special magic. When an actual rainbow touches down at the end of your street, bundling them up and going to look for treasure is just that kind of magic. We found treasure a 5 year-old can truly enjoy.
Grasping at air – poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) aerial roots display bright colors as it climbs over 70 feet up a coast redwood. The poison oak trunk, as thick as my forearm, bore beautiful carvings, done by some unfortunate, uninformed graffiti artist. I shudder to think of the awful rash they must have received. Perhaps they will think twice about carving in a living being next time.
Racing the sunrise at 12,000 feet – Once the sun hits the snow, it starts to get soft. Your crampons don’t grip as well and your steps start to slide. A 2am start ensures hard snow for most of the way up. Soft on the way down just means a smoother slide to the bottom. June 2016.
Pretty maids all in a row – there are over 140 known species of milkweed, which produce some of the most complex flowers in the plant kingdom. When a pollinator visits, often their legs are trapped by the spaces between the flower parts where a pair of pollen sacks wait to hook onto the insect’s leg. Upon struggling free, the insect carries its precious package to another flower. A complementary pair of leg-grabbing slots on another flower pulls the pollen sacks off and “hey presto”, flower sex! If you see some flowering, stop for a minute and watch the bugs get caught.
Cool, calm, and collected – Morning walks after the dew has fallen often reveal many small moments of beauty. When the sun is only a little way up, its slanted light sparkles through spiderwebs, dewdrops, and the delicate petals on flowers. It’s a daily source of soul refreshment.