I did a 8 mile walk along Los Alamitos Creek today. It had been raining here continuously for last few days. Even as I am writing this post, the house windows are being rattled by gusts of wind. The constant drip drip sound of the rain on the roof is putting me to sleep.
Los Alamitos Creek is about eight miles long, originating in the Santa Cruz Mountains and flowing along the eastern side of Almaden Valley. The creek joins the Guadalupe River after Almaden Lake. Los Alamitos Creek Trail along the creek is about ten miles long. The creek becomes a trickle during summer but swells after winter rains. I wanted to see the creek after the rains and was not disappointed.
As I started from my home, it was cloudy with the sun trying to come out from behind the clouds . The hills including Mount Umunhum in the west were hazy, covered in rain clouds. The trail itself is well paved for bicycles, hikers and joggers with small detours that lead from the paved trail to the creek banks in many areas. I entered the trail after walking about a mile from my home.
Winter rains had turned the meadows near the creek bed verdant green. Trees, bare naked in winter, against the green meadows and a darkening sky was a sight to behold.
The creek becomes a trickle during summer but swells after winter rains. I wanted to see the creek after the rains and was not disappointed. It was full with gushing waters and looked like a small river.
As I was about to return, the rains started. It was a slow drizzle at first but became a driving rain by the time I was about a mile from home. Then just as suddenly a huge gust of wind blew the rain away though I could still see the heavy rains on the hills. I hurried home as fast as I could praying my tired legs would not slip on the wet pavements. Though I was extremely tired after the long walk, my heart was full and satisfied.
Last week I wrote about a wildfire on a hill near our home. Today morning when I was out walking my dog, I was pleasantly surprised to see signs of life around the blackened meadows ravaged by the fire. I was getting late for my work, so I did not have the luxury of pondering about it. As I was returning back from the walk, I was distracted several times by varieties of wildflowers blooming all along the trail that I take my dog out in the morning. During summer, the grass and foliage on the trail become dark brown in color. This year because of the late rain in April and May, one can still see some green here and there. Normally by this time there won’t be wildflowers blooming. Again the late rain must have helped. Many of these wildflowers are native weeds. I was feeling like an ignorant fool because I had never tried to learn about them at all. so many years have passed that I have been walking on this trail but never cared to learn about the environment that I live in. It is sad really. We are so busy in our daily life that we take many of the things around us for granted and just go on with our lives.
As I was showering and getting ready to go to work, my mind went on drifting to those wildflowers. How hardy they are! They are abused by everybody. People walk on them, dogs pee on them, sun bakes them in summer and they freeze in winter. However a little spring rain is the only tenderness they get and they start blooming. They have a very short life span but during that short life they have the capacity to make people feel happy. Nothing else they ask in return.
So here I am on week twenty of my fifty two weeks journey with letter “W” and the word for my poem is in my mind from early morning. I know I already used “wildfire” last week and “wildflower” starts with the same word “wild”. I do see a link between wildfire and wildflower and I hope I can bring it out in my poem that I am about to start writing as soon as I post this blog.
This post is in response to Write Anything Wednesday-June-15-2016 sponsored by Writerish Ramblings
Just as we were about to finish our dinner tonight, suddenly my daughter exclaimed, “the hill is on fire”. Her friend, whose house is at the bottom of the hill, had sent a facebook update on the fire. The hill is actually a hillock, couple of hundred feet high with a few oak trees at the top. It’s a hiking ground for the people in the neighborhood as it is surrounded by homes. we all ran out to the street. The street was full of neighbors, everybody looking at the hill and the leaping flames. Sirens blaring, fire tenders rushed from the nearby fire stations and quite promptly brought the situation under control. There was a helicopter hovering above the hill continuously, most probably a from some news agency. But for the prompt action from the firefighters, it could have been a disaster as the grass on the hill was bone dry and brown. The only green on the hill now are the oak trees. Everybody was hoping that the fire would spare the oak trees. Those trees are a sort of mascot of our neighborhood.
People were standing on the street and speculating about the source of the fire. There was a near unanimous agreement that it must have been started by someone throwing a lighted cigarette butt. Many a time, during hiking up the hill, we have seen empty bear bottles and cigarette butts on the meadows at the top of the hill. California in summer is very susceptible to wildfires. Many a times, wildfires are caused by lightning. However, there are lots of examples of fires being started due to human callousness. Lighted cigarette butts, campfires not extinguished properly, lighted matchstick thrown carelessly, people throwing out lighted cigarettes carelessly from cars to roadside etc. are some of the root causes of human caused wildfire. For a moment of indiscretion on the part of some callous person, the price paid in terms of losses to property, wildlife and human life could be very high. When will we learn to hear the warning of SMOKEY?
By now, I had completely forgotten about my fifty two weeks journey with the word “W” and Write Anything Wednesday. I have the word for my poem in front of my eyes, “Wildfire”, but not sure if I have the emotional strength to write a poem about it. By the grace of God , prompt action from the firefighters and help from nature in terms of low wind, our neighborhood was spared from being a news item.
This post is in response to Write Anything Wednesday-June-8-2016 sponsored by Writerish Ramblings
Now that spring is officially here, our neighborhood is enjoying the bounty of nature. Due to the recent rains, creeks are running full, meadows are green, flowers are blooming and everywhere it is a carpet of green. In a month or so, nature will start changing colors to brown and then golden brown. Wanted to share a collage of nature’s bounty with you all.
All photos are taken by author. Middle photo on the right was taken during my recent trip.