Mucking in the Muck

new-growth-2

Here in the U.S., “mucking” means “to play about in something” and “muck” mostly means “mud.”  I think it may mean other things in other parts of the world, such as all the debris in a barn.  So, here I am referring to mud, glorious mud!

We have been in the midst of a 6-year drought in California; this year, with heavy precipitation, the snowpack in the northern mountains is more than it has been in 22 years, but with warmer weather, the snow may melt.  Then what?  We do not have good water storage in much of the state, as in cities like Los Angeles, the water is drained to the sea.  Where I live, we don’t get snow (but can admire it on the distant mountains).  We get rain (when we get it).  It has been a regular rain for the season for the past two months, and this week promises another two or three storms.

Thus, our skies are dark and grey, and the roads are a mess.  So are the trails everywhere.  You can see footprints and paw prints and bike tracks.  It’s not a good time to go along cliffs as the potential of a landslide is pretty serious.  The ground becomes saturated and slips.  Houses along the ocean cliffs have been known to tumble.  Sadly, people are also killed because of the slippage, or seriously injured.  Just a few weeks ago, a colleague slipped and fell, and though I do not know the details, I wonder if this is what happened.  I’ve lost a couple of other friends the same way, on local trails.  Another friend fell and was seriously injured, but has made a good recovery considering all the metal in his back.

But the lure of the outdoors is there – the smell in the air of new growth, the light, the rush of water in usually dry creeks, the songs of birds and croaking of ravens and the screeches of the hawks.  It is all there to be savored and enjoyed, quietly, listening.

I took my old beat up Nikon FM2N with me, and a roll of Provia 100, and a 28mm lens from 1970 or so.  It does close ups, too.  I am looking forward to seeing what comes from the roll, as it was dreary outside, and the light in the late afternoon was not good.  I also brought my phone with me, partly for a potential emergency – hiking alone – but also to capture an image or two that might be worthwhile.  So, above, is a picture taken last night before I turned to go home.  The rains bring new growth, the first of which is this lovely white-flowered wild cucumber.

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