We had a freakish April rain a week ago–April showers are not the norm around here, even in non-drought times. So when I found this almost-disappeared bit of water in the middle of the trail, I had to stick my foot in it . . . one last sploosh of mud until who-knows-when. (Our next rain might not be until November . . . )
As for the overly-alliterative title to this blog post . . . it’s National Poetry Month, and alliteration is a very old Anglo-Saxon poetry technique. So there’s that.
I was going to use “barefoot” in parenthesis (SEO, baby), but then I got a bit obsessed with the “p” constraint, and decided a foot without a shoe has been peeled of an extraneous layer. “Final” had no such p-centric synonyms, so “peculiar” seemed a slightly related word (love my www.thesaurus.com!).
Despite the dryness of our times, we did have enough rain this past season to inspire some lovely native blossoms (“painted plants” is a terrible synonym, but what ya gonna do). Thus and so and here we go: the rest of this post is just. Flowers. California native wildflowers! (From a run in the hills outside of Irvine Regional Park two days ago . . .)
Southern pink (although it’s definitely red: the “pink” refers to its “pinked” or cut edges”
Golden star: the name says it all.
The ubiquitous buckwheat–easy to ignore because it’s everywhere . . . but so deserving of loving attention to its mottled, insect-attracting, blossoms.
White-flowered black sage. Go figure.
Not so common in these parts: red paintbrush.
A taste of brilliant — and tangy — lemonade berries is always a nice pick-me-up on a run.
Haven’t ID’d this singer yet . . . I recorded his exuberance so I can listen to this song and be transported back here. (Grrr . . . the invasive yellow mustard is a discordant note indeed.)
Still thriving in shady spots: a lush mossy soil carpet (unfortunately being chewed up by the ever-encroaching bike tires).
This delicate pink bloomer follows fire; the last time these trails burned was in 2005, but there are still some mallows lighting up the spring.
Stately elderberry . . . a skeleton for so many dry months of the year, now leafed out and producing masses of creamy umbels of tiny flowers that seem to be heaven for native bees and other tiny flyers. And the scent is heavenly to me . . . caught unawares by a slight sweetening of the air, then looking around and finding this familiar friend waving a perfumed greeting.
Slightly scented as well . . . but I’m a bit wary to stick my nose in this plants’ bid-ness . . . sacred datura has been used for millenia by native peoples for ceremonial purposes, but is highly toxic in the hands of the uninitiated. But . . . such a lovely shade of slightest lavender . . .
Sure, the flowers get all the attention, but if you let your gaze wander too long from the trail, these lovely stones have a way of making their presence known to shoeless feet . . .
Beginning its late spring burst of yellow energy along a trail near you: tar plant (named for its strong aroma that reminds some folks of . . . tar). We have (count ’em) six local species, four of them rare and endangered. (I’m not sure which one this is . . . guess I need to get keying . . . )
Along the riparian “Willows” trail grow many: willows. Some sections of trail have snow-like drifts of willow duff. When it floats down out of the trees on a very still spring morning, it reminds me of snowflakes (which is what an imagination is for, right?).
I try to run early or late to avoid the crush of mountain bikers on the local trails . . . with no one else out and about but me ‘n the wrentits, it’s easy to imagine this place years before wheels came to be. I was happy to see this group go by, though: a team of youngsters floating up the significantly steep Chutes trail like it was nothing. The future of trail running!
Our view at the top of Chutes and Barham Ridge trails. Three million people go about their busy So Cal lives just beyond the edge of this image.
Another favorite view from Barham Ridge: the Lomas de Santiago and Santa Ana Mountains marching along.
Almost back to the trailhead . . . one more squish in the mud . . . a fine way to start the day . . .