Friday, March 13, 2015

Calmness before Excitement

 On my way to Greenville last Sunday, I was on the lookout for bright-colored wildflowers to open my season of local wildflower photography.  I had already photographed some early blooms down in the lower Feather River Canyon and on down toward Chico.  It was still a bit early up here at 3,000', so I diverted my search toward earth colors.  I tried to find as much beauty as I could in the greens, blues, browns and grays.  These photos were taken around the Greenville Y.  I was more than satisfied, starting with the cascade pictured above.  A year ago at this time it was a torrent and there was snow on the ground.  This time, the scene looked right for around May, so I just pretended it was May and all was beautiful - rather than frightening.
 On some of the large slabs of sedimentary rock there were reliable carpets of moss punctuated with tiny clumps of lichens and very tiny wildflowers.  I say reliable because they've always been there as long as I've been visiting the area, even when under several feet of snow.
 In some of the more vertical cracks above the carpet of moss, things like Licorice Fern (above) and tiny starts of oak and fir trees find sufficient base for attempting a normal life as tree or shrub.  Some last a long time, and even complete a normal life cycle.  Others get washed away or die of dehydration. 
 A few yards north along the highway the early basal leaves of various thistles have emerged.  If I remember correctly, the one above reached a height of 7 to 8 feet last summer.  It's now starting over and I'll be checking on it every time I drove north of Quincy on Highway 89.
What's the subject here?  Is it rushing water? Vertical rock strata?  Foreground shrubs?  No on all.  It's a Robin.  You might have to click on the photo for an enlargement in order to see the "early bird."
So, what's the excitement I allude to in the title of this post?  Initially, the idea referred to the bright-colored wildflowers I expected to see around Greenville.  That didn't pan out.  So, now it's about my anticipated visit to Table Mountain tomorrow.  I hear the wildflowers there are peaking.  That means probably at least 100 species are blooming.  If I'm not too tired when we return home Saturday night, I'll start posting photos right away.  Otherwise, be checking back here Sunday morning.  Besides wildflowers, a highlight of the trip will be a visit to Phantom Falls if we have the energy to walk that far.

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