The Long View, The Hidden Flower

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.

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16 thoughts on “The Long View, The Hidden Flower

  1. Cool pics. I have always been enamored with detail. My hikes in the woods always end up with me taking pictures of flowers and bugs and the like.

    Funny thing, I came across your blog on the Next link at the top of the page. Haha. You are far too ubiquitous, your blog is invading my computer. Heh. Cookies looked good too. : )

  2. Sounds like a nice hike. We’ve got a hill behind the house as well, although it’s only the highway noise barrier, and it’s only about 60 feet high. But it has hares, rabbits, pheasants, gulls, terns, mice and the occasional hawk. And nice views over the settlement to the North and the countryside on across the higway on the South. But then again, this is the heart of the Netherlands; no wild nature but plenty of landscape.

  3. bl

    Enjoyed your walk words and the pictures. They turned by thoughts to “pictues” we viewed last night. If you and your viewer/readers have not seen Al Gores “An Inconvenient Truth” please do so. It deals with important perspectives the immediate and the long term and even the hill you climb and its future.

    Cheers wl

  4. Gorgeous…I was just discussing with Sam that I thought SF would be a good destination for our next vacation…now I want to come even more. Really gorgeous photos; I enjoyed walking with you. Courtney

  5. What wonderful pictures! I live in the flattest part of the UK, so no hills, and no long views. I’ve always thought it disproportionately important to find beautiful views around me, and it looks as if you have plenty of those. And I should have known that you wouldn’t be a woman to neglect detail.

  6. I’m so glad all of you could come hiking with me! It’s so interesting to hear about other landscapes. We’re set for another hike today, but right now, it’s time for some work and some quiet reading. cheers to all, BL

  7. Hello Ms.Kitten, That’s wonderful! I live a few blocks from the Star Grocery, not far from the Claremont Hotel. This hike is up the Claremont Canyon, across from the hotel and right behind the Clark Kerr campus at Cal. If you haven’t already been up there, it’s a lovely hike, particularly early in the morning and late in the day, both times when you can avoid the heat, if we’re lucky enough to be having that sort of day.

  8. Hi, I enjoyed your pictures very much and also your writing. You’re definitely multi-talented. I found your blog through the “you’re welcome” you left on mine (thanks). I hike in the hills above El Cerrito which is closer to where I live but the views and vegetation are very similar. Thanks for the wonderful close up photos and the reminder of all the beauty around here.

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