Friday, February 15, 2013


The canyons and arroyos that intertwine the developed portions of this city seem to me to be the brush that paints the seasonal picture of this place. It is within these creases of land where autumn extends its arms in the muted colors of the turning sycamore, crisp blue shadows dwell under the dusty green of twisted live oak, and the coastal sage waits dry and thirsty for the first taste of rain it's had for months. Late winter and spring bring the seasonal stream beds to life, the storms that roll out of the north Pacific or come crawling up the Mexican coast are the welcome relatives to the table, as they bring the gift of much needed rain. The first blush of green begins to cover the hillsides, an emerald backdrop to the scatter of  wildflowers and blushes of red round berries.

Spruce, Bancroft Creek, Los Penasquitos, San Clemente, Jamacha, Little Sycamore, Mission Trails and Oak. Names that can express the wildness or particular eccocentric aspect of a canyon's natural heredity and location.

There are a number of canyons within a short walk from our home, which I have spent countless hours through the years with our dogs. I especially like the early morning or time right before sunset in these places, as the pointed slant of orange light and shadow conveys an additional dimension to everything that thrives within these hidden pockets of solemn beauty. The trails that wind within always bring a surprise around a bend, whether it's the nonchalant coyote sitting in the path ahead, and then dissolving slowly into the undercover growth, a lone hawk on a fencepost, quiet dappled shade of an arching oak, or just the low hum of bees tagging the powder blue bush flowers smiling brightly to a hot summer sun.

Wilderness can mean a lot of things depending on where you find yourself living. To some, wilderness can be found only in the far reaches of mountains or deserts, truly removed from our urban landscape. To others, a sense of one with nature does not necessarily need a long trip away from our normal routine. Wilderness and the personal pleasure it brings may be found in snippets of time, and the most mundane of places if we seek out the layered sounds, the multi hued song of nature, and the amazing  tapestry of living things we share this earth with.

Manna and I just came back from a snippet of time in the canyon. She came back with the halo of new scents and experience, I brought back a pocketful of wilderness, the sun on my shirt, and a smile in my hand.

1 comment:

Carol Reed said...

I love the fact that you post a very telling photo with each blog. You set the reader into travel mode even prior to the story....