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NATURE IS ESSENTIAL

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”  David Attenborough

It has been a long spring, made worse by this COVID-19 pandemic and the decisions telling all of us to stay home to stay safe.  We are frequently reminded that we should only be venturing out for what is essential.  Of course, for most, “essential” tasks revolve around obtaining food, water, medications and healthcare.  But for me, what is truly essential includes much more than these basics!

What exactly does essential mean? According to The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, something is essential if it is “of utmost importance, basic, indispensable, necessary.”  Some obvious synonyms would be fundamental, cardinal, vital.  Anything that is essential has a sense of urgency and importance.  It is the key thing that keeps one going.

FOR ME, NATURE IS ESSENTIAL. 

Trips into Nature keep me going, make me feel calm and grounded, link me to the miracle of life that is all around. With this long pandemic-shrouded spring, I really needed a trip into Nature.  My plan was to spend the day driving the back roads in and around the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster.  But just before I was set to leave, I saw a news item that said the roads were barricaded to keep people out.  Drats.

My guess is that hordes of people may have descended on the area over the weekend, trampling the fields, crowding the roads, and otherwise ignoring social distancing. After all, it was the first good-weather weekend since this ordeal began.  Or it could just be a random edict.  Either way, my plans were being undermined—and that would not do.

I NEEDED A TRIP INTO NATURE.

My new plan was simpler, just drive to Gorman at the Grapevine and wander the Gorman Postal Road.  If flowers are in bloom in the area, they are usually there too.  It was a glorious afternoon.

California Poppy

“The earth laughs in flowers.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Spring is Nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’”  Robin Williams

Lupine, One of My Favorites!

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon the verdant green hills is the most perfect refreshment.”  Jane Austen

“An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.”  David Attenborough

Great Valley Phacelia

“Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.”  David Suzuki

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  John Muir

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.”  Jules Renard

“I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”  John Burroughs

“When one tugs at a single thing in Nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”  John Muir

This little guy did not cooperate at all for photos.  The butterflies in the area never even paused anywhere!

“Nature is not a place to visit.  It is home.”  Gary Snyder

“The happiest man is he who has learned from Nature the lesson of worship.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kern Tarweed (maybe)

“They are much to be pitied who have not been given a taste for Nature early in life.”  Jane Austen

I always love it when there is a nice spring breeze wandering the hills as well.  (Sorry I forgot to turn off the radio.  At least I am not singing along!)

LOTS OF POPPIES!

“Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.”   Virgil A. Kraft

“When spring is dancing among the hills, one should not stay in a dark little corner.”  Kahlil Gibran

The other day I headed out to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve to find some poppies.  I was very successful!  This year is proving to be another Super Bloom.

I drove to the Poppy Reserve via Tehachapi and Rosamond and then on into Lancaster.  There are usually some poppy fields along Avenues D and I before getting to the Poppy Reserve.  This year was no different. Intermixed with the poppies were some small patches of Fiddleneck, Goldfields, Baby Blue Eyes, and the start of Lupine.

John Steinbeck (East of Eden, 1952) was accurate in his description of these fields of color: On the wide level acres of the valley the topsoil lay deep and futile.  It required only a rich winter of rain to make it break forth in grass and flowers. The spring flowers in a wet year were unbelievable. The whole valley floor, and the foothills too, would be carpeted with lupins and poppies.”

John Muir was rather poetic: “When California was wild, it was the floweriest part of the continent.”

The closer I got to the Poppy Reserve, the greater the crowds.  Cars were parked along the roadside as people wandered out into the fields.  Such traipsing is technically not illegal on land outside of the Reserve.  I would have been in line about an hour to get into the Reserve itself and start looking for parking.  Too many people.

I really prefer the flowers!

“Every natural object is a conductor of divinity and only by coming into contact with them. . . may we be filled with the Holy Ghost.”  John Muir

 “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”  Shakespeare

Spring breezes are a constant companion when out enjoying the poppies.  John Keats noted the same thing:  Through the Dancing Poppies stole a breeze most softly lulling to my soul.”  

I headed home via I-5, so I could drive the Gorman Post Road.  Poppies and Lupine are usually in bloom along this short stretch.  This year, they have not fully arrived yet.  Only one or two poppies were evident and a plant or two of lupine were not yet in full bloom.  The hills were mainly covered by Kern Tarweed.

It was another delightful spring afternoon.

This post is my response to Lens-Artist Photo Challenge 39: Hello April.

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