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  • Erin


I’ve been at work a lot and not always accompanying my family to the river, to the sprawling almond tree. A perfect climbing tree, with no trunk (or all trunks?). Just many climbable branches, some low for little ones, some very high for the bigger kids. The last time I was here it was entirely pink blooms. There are still a few left, but most have transformed into drooping brown and will keep on transforming into bitter, inedible almonds of an uncultivated wild tree. I’m sad to have missed most of the short days of the bloom while sitting behind a computer.

But I’m impressed to see how high my four-year old climbs now. He didn’t climb that high the last time I was here with him. I join him and we climb up as high as there are branches hefty enough to hold my weight. He can climb a bit higher and his seven year old friend even higher.

When we started down the path to this spot, we were greeted first by the deep pink blooming of a tiny nectarine tree and the sound of so much birdsong, particularly mockingbirds. It has been raining for days and days and now all the birds are out, getting into spring mode. Periwinkle is blooming, quails are about in the brambles.

Fom up here we’re closer to the high electrical wires that run through this nature preserve to cross the river. My kiddo points out a dove sitting on the wires. Then he whisper points to two spotted towhees flitting below us among the branches. The towhees are gorgeous on this first-in-a-while sunny day. Their movements are fun. They seem to be playing. Kiddo’s whispering and pointing is so cute. Eventually we get louder and the towhees flit across the open field to a cluster of oak and almond trees.

We climb down, walk around and look at the amazingly high water, many of the places we usually spend time inundated now. What a transformation. We make mud cakes, listen to hawks calling and watch them fly over. We cook the mudcakes up on a piece of driftwood that is a stove in our imaginations. We watch coots diving under the water, sleep in the sun on our picnic blanket. We all get a little bit sunburned on our cheeks and noses. The first sunburn of the year. It’s three days until Spring Equinox.

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