Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nature Walks

This week I took a short road trip to Nevada City (in California) to visit a friend. The highlights of that trip were a couple of walks we took along the Yuba River.

Thursday we went to the Buttermilk Bend trail on the South Yuba River State Park. The walk was a designated "wildflower walk" with many of the plants identified by little signs which made it so much more interesting once we knew what we were looking at. There were so many wildflowers - including the quintessential Cal combination of California poppy and lupine. I also loved the blue tomcat clover, the glowing yellow pretty face and fiddlehead which is yellow also but the flowers lie on the stem shaped like a fiddle. There was one wildflower we never did figure out the name of which had small purple/maroon puffball flowers with the tiniest white poofs on the tips. Oh, and there is a wildflower with the hilarious name of Blue-Dick. And, I saw an American Dipper (water ouzel) doing his thing in the river, which of course lifted my heart, as these birds are one of my favorite. John Muir wrote a wonderful essay about this bird, and Harriet Monroe penned a lovely poem.

On Friday, we went back to a different spot on the Yuba, and went for a longish hike on the north side of the river. The microclimate on that part of the river was completely different from what we had seen the day before, but still lots of wildflowers and unbelievably scenic views of the river. The Yuba River has the most amazing green pools where the river is deeper. Oh my goodness, don't I just love a nature walk, or just a good hard hike, wherever it may be - the desert, the mountains, the seaside, the beautiful rolling hills of California. For me, it's a chance to come out of my thoughts, to abandon my overblown sense of importance and to become merely another being breathing in and breathing out. It's liberating. There are so many other creatures and beings of all sorts to learn about, to understand how this place sustains them. It puts me on the earth and in my body at a particular place and time.

Gratitude of the Day: I am grateful for spring wildflowers, green rivers, and friends who have open souls.

No comments: