This blog is closed. For more recent content, visit Chris Clarke's new site Coyote Crossing.

Creek Running North

<< Unlucky rabbit foot | Main | On invasions and exotics and natives >>

April 03, 2005

Coming in out of it

delph This is Delphinium decorum, the coastal blue larkspur. A swath of them bloomed along a seepy slope on our hike today, along with poppies and fiddlenecks, buttercups and lupines and a white papaveraceous plant whose name I'm forgetting (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) and blue-eyed grass and owls' clover and the blazing epaulettes of the red-winged blackbirds as they bent the tules near double.

Becky and I hiked apart much of the way, she upset over her job, I over mine. Wind cut through our clothes and the occasional long stretch of mud wetted our shins. We would fume, then remember, and look up sheepishly smiling at the other.

Ten miles of walking leaves a lot of room for both sulking and smiling. We chatted about the flowers, about our pets and our damned jobs, and Becky said pointedly twice that we needed to save money so that one of us could quit. (It isn't going to be me, and if she quit her public school teacher job and went to work sewing t-shirts in a Chinatown sweatshop we'd gross more per annum.) We passed a few miles sketching out plans for a Lifetime TV movie about a teacher who snaps, doing away with her students one by one. Working title: "No Child Left." ("Class Size Reduction" deemed "too wonky.")

Clouds scutted in from the south, gesticulated and glowered, then moved on; one after another for five hours. After a long time we reached the truck. I put my pack into the bed just as the raindrops started at last to fall. A quarter mile down the road and the skies burst open.

Posted by Chris Clarke at April 3, 2005 08:00 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

0 blog(s) linking to this post:

decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs


OK, I had to look up "papaveraceous." Do you mean matilija poppies - the ones that look like sunny-side-up fried eggs? We have some of those in our canyon - I love them!

Sorry about the jobs.

Posted by: Kathy at April 3, 2005 08:33 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

Duh. Now that I've looked at the picture, I see that it's not a matilija poppy and I have no clue what it is.

Posted by: Kathy at April 3, 2005 08:35 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

Well, i know the word "papaveraceous," but one good look at your six-petaled riddle was enough to send me back to my conifer lore. Angiosperms are where the world became too much for me, I think :)

Posted by: Jarrett at April 3, 2005 09:13 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

I looked in one of my perennials book and can't find the name of the white papaver. i've got a few others to check--
I remember hikes like the one you described. Job discontent was a pretty regular thing for us. Hiking was always the best remedy, gardening too. I'm sure you've heard it a million times, but teaching is so important, and a good teacher is valuable beyond measure, I hope Becky can stay with it.
Hiking, gardening, birdwatching, and loving each other-- the best antidote.

Posted by: Rexroths Daughter at April 4, 2005 07:57 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

The bluebonnets are blooming here in TX and they're beautiful. And the mustard. The landscape is purple and yellow. My eyes can't believe it, they've been mourning for the grape hyacinth in WI which are always a joy to see after the old gray and dirty snow melts away.

Posted by: Roberta at April 4, 2005 11:04 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

I love to hike and it sounds like a wonderful time that you had.

Posted by: Blue at April 4, 2005 01:44 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

thank you for the kind words you said in my blog. :)

Posted by: cathy at April 4, 2005 03:44 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

It is Platystemon californicum, cream cups. This annual is still fairly common on serpentine, but has suffered from competition from weedy grasses on regular soil. Did you see this near Pinole?

Posted by: deenk at April 9, 2005 10:42 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

Yep. Near Pinole, one watershed south. I was wondering about Platystemon - even have a photo of some a few posts back - this just looked different. Thanks!

Posted by: Chris Clarke at April 13, 2005 10:42 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs