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Blue, blue spring–time for wandering and wildflowers and getting over old injuries

April 7, 2013

Yesterday’s wander from Irvine Regional Park into The Willows (my new favorite trail!) was classic Southern California springtime:  cool gray morning cloud-cover and shy wildflowers–if you were careful to notice them.

Since this was not an especially wet winter (only about 7 inches of rain since October), this spring’s “wildflower show” is more muted than years like 2004-05, when 35+ inches of rain germinated a riot of color all over the hills.

But still–if you slow down and look (and since I’m still rehabbing to recover from last fall’s ankle and achilles twinges, I do go slowly), there are beauties to behold, like these:

Wild hyacinth (Dichelostemma capitatum)

Wild hyacinth (Dichelostemma capitatum)

Lively lupine

Lively lupine

Blue-eyed grass, waiting for the sun to come out

Blue-eyed grass, waiting for the sun to come out

Phacelia

Phacelia?

Some kind of wild nightshade

Some kind of wild nightshade

Yerba santa up close, the Santa Ana Mountain foothills in the distance

Yerba santa up close, the Santa Ana Mountain foothills in the distance

No stoplight at the intersection of The Willows and Roadrunner trails

No stoplight at the intersection of The Willows and Roadrunner trails

In The Willows are . . . willows in bloom; note the catkin-style flower structure.

In The Willows are . . . willows in bloom; note the catkin-style flower structure.

Although mule fat's long slender leaves look like willow, the blossoms are quite different . . .

Although mule fat grows near water like willows, and its long slender leaves look willow-ish, the blossoms are quite different . . .

The air is spring-sweet with the scent of elderberry in bloom. Ahh....

The air is spring-sweet with the scent of elderberry in bloom. Ahh….

Up-close: a tiny individual elderberry flower.

Up-close: a tiny individual elderberry flower

Hmmm . . . an interesting trend. No barefoot photos again yesterday . . . just plants.  Gotta honor this blog’s title, though, so here’s a favorite photo from last weekend’s Easter fun with the grandkids:

Easter at Grammy's: shoes optional

Easter at Grammy’s: shoes optional

Barefoot running update: last month I was referred to an amazing doctor of physical therapy who in three visits has diagnosed and treated some old-old-old injuries/pain sites. For the first time in a long while, I feel hopeful about getting back to running shoelessly in my beloved dusty hills (not that I don’t enjoy hiking there . . . but running barefoot is even more fun).

I’ve just started alternating short intervals of running with walking during my hour-long trail outings; while it’s frustrating to feel so strange getting used to running again, the doctor (his name is Derrick Sueki, if you’re looking for a miracle in treating your chronic injuries) assures me it’s because my body needs this time to learn new, healthy patterns of movement. Between his wonderful care/instruction, and that of my superhero Pilates instructor Kristine Ngo, running seems like something I might. Just. Do. Soon!

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