Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Beauty That Surrounds You!

I thought I would share some of the beautifully amazing sights I have on my one mile walk to work.  A walk I should try to take more often, but sadly, my busy life gets in the way of that.
How often do we leave our houses for work, or the grocery store, or to drop the kids off at school, or any other number of reasons?
Now how often do you take the time to look for the amazing beauty you are surrounded by?
I cannot count how many times I have taken this walk.  Some days I notice the hawks on the wire hunting in the field next to my house, some days I notice my neighbors garden in full bloom, or the creek babbling a little louder after a nice rain.  Some days I have on mental blinders and I spend the entire time going over in my head the myriad of things I need to accomplish the second I get to work and I miss everything along the way. 

I have decided I am no longer going to waste that precious time running through my mental to-do list.  Instead I am going to enjoy every moment of this short walk and take in all the amazing scenery I am blessed to live in.

Join me on my early Spring walk to work?  (remember you can click the images to enlarge them for a closer view)

Just down the hill from my house is a lovely gate with white Wisteria.  The trees in the background are home to some beautiful birds of prey in the area.

A few steps down the little path the city created on our street is a riot of shades of green with a splash of yellow blooming on one of the bushes.  A creek runs the length of this street so the foliage is usually nice and lush.

20 feet more and across the street is a purple Wisteria, this one growing mainly in the shade of the beautiful tree behind it.

There is a slight bend in the road before the street turns on to one of the main streets running through town.  There are some amazing oak trees in this area.  Here is a shot of one of them with the gorgeous clear sky as the backdrop.

Another 30 or so feet brings us to this very majestic and very old oak tree.  It has suffered some serious damage through the years from storms, stupid drivers not taking the turn slow enough, and also just from sheer age.  I have no clue just how old this amazing tree is, but it has some pretty amazing character growing into its branches. 

Almost before the main street are some flowering bushes planted by the city to decorate the area where the first two bus stops are located.  I have no clue what the bush is, but it sure is pretty.

At some point, just before that last amazing oak tree the creek crossed under the road and is now on the other side of the street.  It makes a sharp turn and even though it is not very full the sound of rushing water under the eucalyptus trees is beautiful. 

This is California, so we must have some California Poppy's, right?  The sun has just started to shine over here so they aren't quite open all the way yet.  I bet if I had the time to sit for awhile I could watch them open up for the sunshine!

Another yard with some pretty flowers blooming...

These blooming bushes are all along the fence line by the Police station and city hall.

And just across the street from city hall is this historical piece of property.  There used to always be sheep out in the field, but the folks who live here now use a riding mower to keep the grass under control.  I miss the sheep.  And I miss seeing the little lambs in the spring. 

And then just across the street is a quaint little church.  Oftentimes you will see artists setting up easels along the sidewalk where we are walking right now.  This church is very picturesque.  Tons of weddings are held here throughout the year.  It is named Church of the Oaks.  Recently, the three huge and very old oak trees that sat in front on the corner needed to be taken down.  I know they had sustained some damage from a storm, but I think the main reason was due to an illness.  The church had a big party when they planted some new young oak trees in their place.  You can see one of them flourishing on the right side of the photo.

Back on our side of the street sitting a little bit back from the road is a beautiful country barn.  This is just one block from the center of town.

At the end of this block is a house occupied by a very old woman who tends to her garden year round.  She has her lawn mowed in a particular pattern, and somehow (I am sure with some major diligence) she rarely has an gopher holes in it!  Here is a photo of the garden on one side of her house. 

Now I will reveal my dream home!  I have wanted this house for as long as I can remember.  It is only 2 blocks from my store and this area is zoned so that you could operate a business from the home.  So, wouldn't it make a perfect bead store!?  It has gone up for sale twice in the past 30 years.  Sadly, both times the asking price was a bit out of my reach.  But I won't give up hope!
And while I appreciate the subtle gray and white paint job, I envision it being painted a deep sage green with turquoise trim.  And that porch is just begging for a swing!
OK...we really need to get a move on....we're already late for work!

We needed to hustle past the park (it was too shady and the photo didn't come out well anyway!), past the intersection in the middle of town and the fire station and we are!  The open sign is on so we must be late!  Check out the crazy huge redwood tree just outside my shop.  I am so grateful that it is protected and that the building had to be designed around it. 

Thank you for joining me on my walk to work.  I have to let you go now as I have a ton of things to do today.  But before you go, one final comment.  I hope this little journey will inspire you to get out and take a walk yourself today.  And while you're out there, be sure to take the time to appreciate all the beauty that surrounds you.  Healthy for your body and your mind!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Brand New Forest

I am blessed to live in Northern California!  Within less than an hour drive I can be gazing up at Giant Redwoods. I can hear the Pacific crash against jagged rocks, or hear it gently flow to shore over a beautiful sandy beach.  I can be in a major city (San Francisco) to enjoy an opera, world class dining, a Giants ball game, visit historical landmarks.  I can be driving across rolling golden hills on my way to a babbling stream high up in the mountains.  I am basically surrounded by a plethora of magical sights and wonders all within a moments reach. 

This past Sunday, Shawn and I took a drive through our old home town (where we lived when Nick & Justin were born) of Fairfax.  This is where Jerry Garcia used to just show up and play at The Sleeping Lady, and where the hustle of Marin county slowed way down.  I am not so sure it is the same as 25+ years ago when we lived there, but it still holds some very special memories for us.  Just on the other side of town lies the northeastern edge of Mt. Tamalpias.  A breathtakingly beautiful mountain that sits right along the Pacific and overlooks miles and miles of the North Bay area.  There are 100’s of hiking trails, a favorite area for bicyclists, several small lakes for fishing, and a very special pond that Shawn has been visiting since he first moved out to California from New Jersey when he was 18.  This pond is the home to a very special breed of newt and the folks who frequent this area will watch over the pond carefully to make sure nobody is mistreating the newts. 

We headed out on the short hike to the newt pond so Shawn could try and capture a photo or two of the little creatures, but we ended up being totally amazed by the very beginnings of a pine forest.  It seems after our recent rains that fertile pine cones dropped to the ground and with the soil being soft and moist they took root.  Everywhere we looked were these amazing wee little baby pine trees in their first few stages of growth.  It was just magical.

They were growing all along one sunny edge of the newt pond and also a small way into the pond itself. I imagine the little newts were totally loving all the new little hiding places that the wee baby pine trees brought with them.

The brand new little pine forest is very thick and dense so we had to be very careful where we walked so as not to disturb any of the baby trees.  Shawn found a clearing along the edge and laid down to get some of these amazing shots.  I’ve left the images really large so you can see the little mini spider web and the spider that his camera managed to find.  And also the amazing colors and “glow” that seems to be coming from the brand new little tree trunks as they sprout up out of the fertile ground.  

I’d also like to take this time to point out what an amazing gift Shawn has for photography.  I’ve known for a long time with the fabulous shots he’s able to take of my beadwork, but to just be able to lay down on the ground and snap photos like these blows my mind!  Be sure to click the images to enlarge them so you can see all the amazing detail he caught in these photos!

 We're hoping to take our kids there this coming Sunday for a picnic and to let them see the wee beginnings of a pine forest, too!