Monday, April 12, 2010

Those Golden - er - Green - California Hills


I wasn't looking, honest. I was driving, it's true, and between the 280 exit and my place of work in Palo Alto, the light was playing magically on the soon-to-be golden hills of California. I just slipped my pocket camera from my purse - I can manage it handily one handed - and pointed it out the window.

I don't usually drive this route, but during spring I take it several times to enjoy the trees, and I always stop in at a horse ranch and take some pictures of the oaks at least once.

The hills to left and right are dotted with marvelous Valley oaks (Quercus lobata) in their fresh new foliage.


Some old and craggy, dramatic in the light and shade.

And some like young maidens gathered for a dance. I guess they could be lads and lasses, but they always look feminine to me. (This next was also taken from the car and came out a bit dark.)

And some just - just lovely.

When the first Europeans arrived they marveled at the park-like beauty of the wilderness they found. As I wrote here, evidence is pretty strong that it was actually managed, as it had been for thousands of years, by the local people. What did it look like, I wonder, before the grasses introduced to feed the cattle replaced all the native grasses that those cattle had grazed to oblivion?

Still, it is lovely. And so green. Green green green.


Those of us who hail from wet green lands get our fix of green during the short, sweet, California spring.

I hope you enjoyed your green fix today.

13 comments:

Noelle said...

I needed this 'fix'. I grew up in Thousand Oaks and loved springtime when the hills would turn green. Thank you for sharing your photos!

Christine said...

I just had to sigh- what a lovely post! That solitary oak photo is breathtaking! I love how your commute route changes with the seasons.

Kaveh said...

I love how the hills of the central and north coast turn florescent green in winter and early spring. The rains will stop soon enough and then they are back to gold until November.

Chandramouli S said...

Wonderful Vistas! So picture-perfect!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I've been travelling that stretch of 280 a lot in the last 12 months. I was sure with our last blast of sunny weather that the hills were starting to change. However, I won't complain that with our recent rains, that we get to enjoy their greeness for a little longer.

By the way, we’ve bestowed the ‘Honest Scrap’ award on you. I know some bloggers don’t accept awards (we usually don’t), but at the very least I wanted you to know that we genuinely love reading Town Mouse and Country Mouse!

Rachel said...

What lovely photos! When in school I was lucky to visit a native California grassland that was unspoiled by Euroasian exotics. The soil was serpentine, which they couldn't grow on, but the natives could. It was an incredible landscape that was green all year long.

Nature ID said...

Where's the "like" button?

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Wonderful! The pictures reminded me of England with its pastures and a special bright green colour. The last picture is a masterpiece. Thank you! I am hypnotised by the green....

Country Mouse said...

Thank you all for sharing my enjoyment!

susan morrison said...

Lovely! I love this time of year in Northern California. When else can you be mesmerized by beauty tooling along on the freeway?

lostlandscape (James) said...

That's such a lurid shade of emerald green. It's stunning while it lasts, but the golden dried hills aren't so bad either. I love California! (That first shot reminds me a lot of the old Windows screensaver...the green hills, the blue sky, the white clouds...)

Brad said...

I've been enjoying the green hills as well. I've been through the Central valley twice in the last 2 weeks and the oak-studded hills are so beautiful right now.

Claire Splan said...

I am such a sucker for these views of the California landscape. They never fail to take my breath away. Thanks for sharing.