I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, April 5, 2014

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom,... ~Terri Guillemets

There are some days that are so beautiful that you take a walk no matter what condition you're in.  I have been going to a doctor for a bad hip and leg.  It's one of those age related, "took a fall with my camera and  I have bad feet too" syndromes. The kind of story that you don't want to tell anyone because you don't want people to feel sorry for you and you don't want them to say, under their breath, "She should NOT be doing all that walking, hiking and messing around with her camera in the wilderness or anywhere... AT HER AGE."
When does "... at her age." become the warning point in your life? Fifty... sixty... seventy... eighty? 
Once you take a bad fall and you are oh... say... beyond sixty, you don't bounce. You hurt yourself, and the hurt doesn't go away like it did 20 years before. It lingers...and then it decides to MOVE IN and set up housekeeping.
Well, that's where I'm at. It's all about the body. It's all about, physical therapy, doctors trying to figure out what is wrong with you and what they should do to make you better. It's all about limited movement and pain.
So, I'm not hiking as much right now. I'm walking on the river road. It's flat, doesn't put pressure on the joints as much and I meet people more. I'm getting out and about.
This morning I drove down to our entrance and parked the car, thinking about how I use to walk down and back up our very steep dirt road. That was 15 years ago, before my feet turned on me.

I parked and started walking. I looked back and thought about how far I should get from the car. My hip was starting to say things to me.
Then, the endorphins kicked in and I was good to go. The Prospector had walked down here, earlier in the morning, and told me, " You have to go down and see the Poppies. Take your camera."
I said, " I don't know. I'm not sure I can walk that far yet."
He said, "Well then, you're going to miss something beautiful."
That's when I went and got my walking shoes, put them on, and left. I'm so glad I did.

There are some days that are made for walking. This was one of them. Spring is here, in all of its glory. The birds are flying, the sky is so blue that it looks like a painting. The rain last week cleared the air and made the sunshine brighter. It smelled like sunshine... like earth and plants... and creek water.
I walked to the first bend in the road and as I came around the turn I saw something orange above me.
And to my left, down the hill... a field of poppies.
They were everywhere. Thousands of them... as if someone had covered whole portions of the hillside with paint.
More than any other year, it seemed as if Mother Nature was having a really good time out there.
As if the rain, the ground and the sunshine had conspired, with her, in some grand effort to create one of the most beautiful places on earth. 
As if our state flower decided to go over and above its required appearance this year and  make a statement to the world.
Even in the area burned by the fire, that almost took our farm two summers ago, the poppies were growing in profusion.
There were everywhere.
As if the fireman had reseeded with poppies (they didn't) and it took two seasons for them to come back. Last Spring was not as abundant, but this year...
Oh, my. Even the poison oak has taken a secondary roll in this parade.
This small flower, eschscholzia califorica, was elected as the state flower by the California State Floral Society in December 1890,  but the state legislature did not make the selection official until 1903.

Also...There is a common misconception associated with this plant, because of its status as a state flower, that cutting or damaging of the California poppy is illegal. There is no law providing the plant special protection in California.
All her life, this native Californian, thought that she would be arrested if she picked one of these little flowers. What deception.
So I will go back tomorrow and pick a few of the thousands that are blooming (on OUR property, I might add.) and bring it home to brighten my kitchen window and remind me of the loveliness of this place,
... but probably not. Old habits die hard.
It was an intoxicating walk. I may have a substance abuse problem with Spring. Maybe that is what's wrong with me this year. I'm having a reaction to the dry winter and now, I will be better in a few days... with a few more walks down my country road.
My hip feels better already. I think I may live to walk another day. Maybe I should lie down in the poppy field and see if the flowers cure my ailment. Yes...quickly... before the Rattlesnake come out.

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke


  1. I might be a "woman at her age" too, and how good you dared to walk and see this beauty. I love our California poppies. Do you exercise in a warm water pool, as I do, that is helpful for hip problems sometimes.

  2. It must be so encouraging to take that walk & afterwards find that your hip feels better. Funny, I always thought it was against the law to pick poppies - it must have come from my mom. Glad to hear that Native Californians like us believed that old prohibition. I was also warned that a picked poppy would be dead the next day! Have no idea if that's true because I've never picked a poppy!

  3. Beautiful, thank you for the share. I enjoyed the photos of these flowers. I am sure would have been blissfully happy to have stood in a field full of them.

  4. ha. i may have the same substance abuse problem...smiles...lovely flowers...and there are def days just made for walking....

  5. oh!!!! that last photo!
    Hope you didn't hurt your hip, and your feet...I know what you mean...it's happening to me too
    and I exercise...stinks over 60
    but we tough women just keep on a walking...and loving spring

  6. You could be telling the story of my week - and my hips. I love this time of year and have forced myself out for a walk with my camera but I suffered. Your poppies are so lovely, the last pick of them against that blue, blue sky is breathtaking.

  7. “She shouldn’t...at her age”. BOO HISS!
    You go girl! I don’t feel sorry for you but I do have empathy. I know your pain and I know how long recovery can take. That hip and leg WILL improve; you’re doing all the right things. Attitude is key. You’re not getting older, you’re getting better. We need you to continue sharing the beauty of your home and your life as seen through your eyes and through your camera. Do what you can, when you can. So yes, go lie down in that poppy field. Love you ~Dawn

  8. The California poppies are just beautiful. I hope your hip and leg get better soon. I walk twice a day once in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Have a blessed day and keep on walking and taking those beautiful pictures. Madeline

  9. I'm sure glad that Prospector encouraged you to go see the spring blooms!! Wowza. Beautiful. What a treat to see such natural beauty on your own property!!

  10. Im so jealous. So happy for you that you took the walk !!! Love poppies and their glory!

  11. Oh, I would have gone on that walk, sore hips or not as well. Natural beauty like that is it's own kind of elixir! I'm a little behind you on the age issue; but have had the doc shake his head when I chipped an elbow roller-skating and went headlong over the bike handlebars while trying to simultaneously ride and walk the dog. I've come to understand that life is not about survival...but joy. PS: Ditch the therapist and go to a good massage therapist. They're worth every penny! Oh yes, and buy Traumeel ointment. It's miraculous!

  12. I hate it when people say "she looks good...FOR HER AGE." The poppies are so lovely. My Grandma had poppies. I always loved them. I dare you to lie down among them. You never know what might happen.
    Thank you for your kind words.
    xo, Cheryl

  13. I'm a bit late reading this. I loved your story of your poppy walk. I think if you picked them you might have found they do not last long as picked flowers. Plus, they close up if they are not out in the sunlight. I guess they are a fleeting beauty that we just shouldn't mess with. Tina


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