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Blue April

April 1, 2017


One of my favorite wildflowers is having a good bloom time right now: blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum). Neither blue-eyed nor a grass, this cheerful member of the iris family blooms from now until May, then dies back to its rhizome until the fall rains revive it. (First People uses? Of course: brief internet research shows it to be a traditional digestive system helper.)

It’s really difficult to capture its intense hue with a crummy little pocket camera that’s been dropped a few too many times, but . . . I still try:

Other blue news this weekend: IMG_1751

I made a rare trip to the beach this morning (traffic & crowd phobias, real and imagined, usually keep me away). Purpose: to conduct a nature writing workshop as part of the “Art in the Park” celebration at Crystal Cove State Park.

Stellar weather; lovely people; good times writing . . . 

April Again

Air that’s been un-cursed
during its journey across
the Pacific Motion
arrives deckside, messes
with my hair:
familiar old friend.
plant-paint spills
onto the slope below.
Farther down: dark
cut-out figures stand against
torn paper wave foam.
Sailboats: toys in my bathtub.
Beach umbrellas: cherry, lemon, grape
lollipops. Why do I not
play here every day?

It’s April 1! No fooling! Happy National Poetry Month, which often arrives with a (short-lived, but extremely sincere) commitment to write a poem a day. (The one above was a fun start,  inspired by today’s “noticing” exercises: Deer Ears, Cricket Skin, Wood Rat Nose, Hawk Eyes).


More on the blue water theme, only this time an ephemeral inland “puddle” — Santiago Creek backing up behind the Villa Park Dam since the winter rains. That’s an American Coot (above) reflecting on what it means to be mistaken for a duck by those-who-don’t-know.

This next photo has only the faintest hint of blue sky reflection, but who doesn’t love pollywogs? (And who doesn’t wonder,Where did they get that name?”)


Nothin’ But Blue Skies, From Now On (according to Mr. Willie Nelson . . . actually . . . according to Mr. Irving Berlin. (This is why the internet is dangerous: do I really need to spend time looking this stuff up?!) He wrote it  “in 1926 as a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical Betsy. Although the show ran for 39 performances only, “Blue Skies” was an instant success, with audiences on opening night demanding 24 encores of the piece from star Belle Baker.[1] During the final repetition, Ms. Baker forgot her lyrics, prompting Berlin to sing them from his seat in the front row.[2]” )


This is the sneezy situation on many Orange County trails right now: they are tunnels of non-native, invasive black mustard (Brassica nigra) that folks-who–know have determined is quite the allergen. Irony alert: the oil pressed from black mustard seeds is a homeopathic remedy for . . . wait for it . . . hay fever.  The seeds of the plant are cultivated extensively in places such as India, where it is harvested and used in Indian cuisinefor example in curry, where it is known as rai.”

Bees also appreciate the electric yellow flowers, so running through a mustard tunnel is a multi-sensory experience of: racing heart rate due to anger at the ecosystem damage, choking on pungeant pollen, and grooving on bee-hum. (And since the flowers can be anywhere from ground level to eyeball-high, the potential for bee-collisions is . . . everywhere.)


I began this post without any sense of direction other than “it’s April 1” and “gee I love the color blue” and “I’ve got pictures from yesterday’s run and today’s workshop.”

Like these blue-(and green)-shirted equestrians, I wandered along and let the blue ideas/images lead me. Fun. Stuff. (And quite in sync with the theme of this blog: wandering and writing. Shoelessly, of course.)

One last memento: a lovely BLUE Crystal Cove mug to remember a lovely blue day.


Happy Blue Trails!

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