We often hike to the top of the hill behind our house. At various times, we might include my husband, my three boys, many lovely women friends, their children, husbands, dogs. It’s a steep climb. All along the way, there are wonderful views across the bay to San Francisco. Because the trail begins not far from where we live, it’s a regular part of many lives — runners puff by, people let their dogs run off leash, early morning workout enthusiasts go up to get their sunrise reward. Sometimes people from the nearby hotel can be seen on the trail, wearing modified business clothes. Nothing’s really out of the ordinary on this hike.
You approach it from a residential neighborhood.
At the trailhead, you can take note of the many possible hazards that lie ahead, only one of which I’ve ever encountered. You can guess which of these it is: ticks, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, people who don’t pick up after their dogs.
Yes, the latter. There are rabbits, and there are hawks. It’s dry up here this time of year. The trail’s dusty, and the hillside isn’t really green any longer.
But there’s still beauty, if you keep your eyes open. Here’s something so small I might have missed it, if my son hadn’t stopped to pick up one of those dandelion fluffs you make a wish on.
I wished for more happiness, just like this moment.
When you get to the top, there’s the UC Berkeley campus (the bell tower is called the Campanille).
And across the way, the Bay Bridge, and San Francisco.
But this morning, it was the details that got me. The small things, like the way the wildflowers were still there, but they were hidden by the dust and the scratchy bushes.
If you could always remember to look at things right in front of you, think of how much beauty there would be to keep you company during your days.
I discovered today how much I like the closeup viewfinder on my camera. My son likes the landscape function. He’s the one who took the city views and the trail views. He likes to get to the top of the hill and see how far he’s come. I suppose it’s the parent in me who just wants to linger on what’s right in front of me. And so, as often happens, we did both.