By Elizabeth Speth
Well, shoot. It’s Monday, isn’t it?
Quick! Come on a three-minute hike with me. I swear it won’t take longer than that, and I’ll have you in the office on time. I promise. C’mon.
Come on! Hurry up! But watch your step.
We’ll start here. Top of the canyon, among the poppies. They won’t be there much longer, on account of the drought. So we must say a very fond hello to them now. Our destination is that thin trickle of water at the bottom of that canyon. It should be a raging torrent right now. Again, blame the drought. But we’re not going to think about that now. We’re going to start walking.
We’re going to look up from time to time on our steep downward trek. See the sky, the wildflowers…
Sometimes you will get some uphills, briefly, and your knees will sigh in relief. Mostly it’s down, down, down. These trails are deep grooves carved out by water run-off, horses’ hooves, peoples’ shoes… Remember, though. You have to climb all of it on the way home. It’s all right. You’re up for it. It’s going to be great.
Did I warn you about the butterflies? We’re going to see a lot of them. They are glorious. Thick as a butterfly blizzard.
They seem to have a ‘flash blue’ switch they turn on, and blue magically appears on those black wings, flashing and blinking in the sun.
More trail. It’s leveled out a bit because we’re nearly to the river. Listen. Hear it whispering to you? Look…
…yes… There it is! The path has widened to a road. The water is rushing by, and you can hear the calls of geese nesting there. It’s getting warm. Almost warm enough to swim.
We linger here a bit, watching the water flow by, worried that so much of the riverbed is exposed so early in the year. We gather our strength for the climb to the top of the canyon, and we whisper to Mother Nature. Soft little prayers for rain. And for the will to go strongly to the top.
Back up. Steep. We welcome the butterflies. We stop and take pictures of them, which gives us a chance to breathe. Watch out. That’s poison oak. All of it, except for the flower.
Globe lilies. My favorite wildflower. They are so unassuming. But at night, the woodland fairies come and detach blooms. They tuck fireflies inside and flit about using the pearly orbs for light. These are also called fairy lanterns.
A fragile wild iris. Showing its kind purple dragon face to the sun.
We are (puff, puff!) back up. Among our brief friends, the wildflowers. Hey, I know you have to get to work, but…
There is a bar in town near here. A simple place. Good whiskies, or we can just order breakfast there and think about how fun it would be to be that naughty on a Monday.
Ok. We’re done. Grab a water bottle, and off to work with you. It was a good hike, my friend. You were good company. Be strong this week. Get through it.