Exploring Mission Trails Park

When I want to relax, I can drive a short distance from my home to Mission Trails Regional Park. A quiet visitor’s center is tucked into the hills, just off a busy road. It’s easy to live nearby and not even know this park and center is here. Once you find it, though, it offers a place to take in the view out onto the peaks jutting up from the San Diego River Valley.

Outside the center an amphitheater built into the hills provides a place for education and concerts.

Did you spot the wildlife sculptures in the amphitheater?

Inside, the center’s lobby welcomes you.

The displays are geared to teaching people about Mission Trails Regional Park–both the history and flora and fauna of the area.

Outside the center you’ll find a replica of the dwelling of the Kumeyaay Indians, who once called this park their home.

A model of the flume shows how water was diverted from the river to other places in need.

As you stroll around, you’ll find other sculptures, complete with sound effects of various animals and birds coming from speakers (that scared me, I will admit).

This late in spring, few blooms are left here. I did find these lovely purple ones.

This puffy pink bloom is the brush mallow.

You can hike on one of the many trails in the area, climb one of the 5 peaks, and relax at the river dam. Spring greens are at their best right now.

Not up for a hike? You’re always welcome to kick back in a grove of trees and enjoy the gentle breeze.

How about you? Do you live near a park that you love to visit?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

 

Spring in Coronado

Spring is popping out all over in Coronado, an island in the southern part of California. We meandered around the neighborhood on a sunny afternoon, looking for color and life. A rainbow of blooms greeted us on our walk.

Coronado is home to a navy base, and many active duty and retired military families live here. Thus, the nautical themes appear in little public parks.

As much as I love vibrant color, I also appreciate the pureness of white flowers.

Looking up, you find palm trees here.

The sun set on this fine spring day, spreading golden light.

How about you? How is this season looking where you live?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

The Rugged Cliffs of Point Loma

The cliffs of Point Loma in the San Diego area draw visitors from all over to explore and enjoy. The crashing waves provide the sound track, and the wind blows through your hair as you breathe in the salty air.

The waves pound relentlessly against the cliffs.

The constant battering has formed arches and small caves at the shoreline.

You want to be careful not to stand on the edge of the layered, crumbling land.

At low tide, you see all the rocks washed up at high tide. The water swirls around the rock, movement against stability.

What a great way to spend a weekend afternoon, taking in nature with its instability, ever-changing tidal patterns, cliffs and arches, and at bottom, solid rock. Nothing stays the same, just as life, and the beauty and aging are all wrapped up in one place. Even the moody skies are constantly on the move across the horizon.

How about you? Are you feeling strong like a rock or more fragile like the cliffs this week?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

 

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse

What do you enjoy when the weather warms up and spring pulls you outdoors? One of my favorite places to go is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. I love to tromp around on the point of land that holds this old restored lighthouse.

Built in 1855, it not only contained the light but it was also home to the keeper’s family. You can imagine the children filling the small place with laughter. I bet the youngsters had fun on the spiral stairway leading to the light.

The family had horses and chickens and grew gardens.

Here’s the view from the front yard.

By the 1890s, this location atop a 400-foot cliff proved to be less than ideal for a lighthouse. The working light today stands on shore level.

The romance of the “old” is clearly a draw more than a century after it shined its light. Visitors flock here to tour the little house, climb up the winding stairs, and marvel at life on this windy promontory.

How about you? What do you enjoy exploring on a sunny day?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

 

When the Path Is Uphill

How is this season looking for you? Yellow cheer blooms along the lake path this time of year. I took in all the beauty on a walk recently and thought about the uphill road I’ve been on for a few months. Maybe you’ll find some encouragement in reading a bit of my story.

What is it like to hear those words you thought were always for someone else? “You have cancer.”

While each of us knows we are not immune, the shock of reality bashing into what was only a vague concept is brutal. My road got pretty rocky within the space of one hour at the doctor.

I’m in the middle of my adventure with cancer. Here’s a bit of what I’ve experienced so far. Of course, everyone’s journey is different. I don’t know the treatment or outcome for me, so I can’t say what “works” or not. But by talking through some of what’s happened, I hope you’ll know a bit more about what it’s like. I hope you’ll find encouragement for a time when you or a friend or family member is suddenly launched on this path.

A year slipped by since my doctor gave me a reminder card for a mammogram. My results had always been normal, so why take time off work to go for this test? With the new year, new calendar, new schedule that came with retirement — OK, I would make the appointment and go. The results came back with the bottom line highlighted in yellow:

Normal mammogram with no evidence of malignancy.

Good news! But the long, involved fine print talked of a “focal asymmetry.” I was to go back for an ultrasound.

Later, more than one doctor expressed dismay that I received a highlighted printed result informing me there was no malignancy.

Partly because I did have more time to spend in a medical office, I made an appointment for an ultrasound. Just to check it out. My reading showed that “focal asymmetry” was usually some kind of shadow and turned out to be nothing of concern.

In the waiting area, clad in a little blue paper vest and my jeans, I thought about my life. For some reason, sitting there all alone with medical people bustling about, I decided to look back at the times my life was spared when I could have so easily not made it.

First, I had polio at age 2. So many polio patients didn’t make it, or ended up affected the rest of their lives. (Think President Franklin Roosevelt in his leg braces and wheelchair.) My leg healed to the point where my parents couldn’t remember which leg was afflicted. Then there was the time at age 9 I rode my bike down a busy street on a hill and somehow veered in front of a car. The driver, a family friend, later told my parents if he hadn’t been “able to stop on a dime” I would have been hit.  More recently, there was the rush-hour accident when my car was smashed between two SUVs. As I ricocheted back and forth with sounds of metal crashing, I really did think this was it. My car looked like a taco, folded front and back, but I was able to stand up and walk away with just a few bruises. (Shout out to Toyota for making a crumple-free driver’s zone.)

So God allowed me to live a healthy life thus far, and I know I’m in his hands past, present, and future.

And then the pleasant nurse called my name.

The ultrasound tech was nice but quiet as she looked at the screen. And there it was, so clear even my untrained eye could tell immediately she had found a tumor. She zoomed in and took “stills,” said she would be back with the doctor, and then left the room.

In no time the doctor came back with the tech.

“You have cancer.”

The room immediately went foggy brown. The two women stood over me as I sat on the exam table and I looked from one to the other. They were in monochrome. I had trouble focusing. I definitely had trouble formulating words.

The doctor volunteered that the next step would be a biopsy to confirm cancer. I was probably looking at a lumpectomy with radiation. I would stay a night or two in the hospital.

Out in my car, I texted my husband and a few others about the “not good news.” I needed time to gather my wits before I drove home. Immediate texts and calls came, which would be the start of an amazing support system that continues to grow and sweeten.

The refrain “I have cancer” rung in my mind as I drove home. I was on an adventure, one I would gladly forego, but one to delve into because my life depends on it.

Meanwhile, I’m focusing on the spring blooms that grow wild for a only a few weeks each year. And they are at their peak right now!

How about you? Are you in a season of welcome — or unwelcome — news? What cheers you through hard seasons?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

When Lilacs Bloom

What signals spring for you? One of the most welcome signs of the season for me is blooming lilacs. We don’t have them where I live, but they are in the mountains about an hour’s drive from my home. The trick is that they bloom only a short time, and I’ve missed their show the last few years.

This year, I wound up the mountain in search of daffodils, another spring favorite. The early warm temperatures brought these out weeks ahead of schedule and they were almost all withered and gone. But the good side of the balmy weather is that the lilacs are early, too. What a welcome surprise!

A bush laden with lilacs has such vibrance against the background of a bare tree that still waits for this year’s leaves to sprout.

I think the lilacs take on a special beauty alongside the budding apple trees.

April’s flowers bloomed in March, and I caught them at their peak. What a refreshing day, full of sun and good conversation and the scent of spring.

How about you? Where has spring caught you by surprise this year?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

The Butterfield Stagecoach Stopped Here

What does gold rush country look like today? One place you can visit to find out is Santa Ysabel in California. Gold found in nearby Julian in 1870 triggered a rush of ranchers and fortune seekers. This was a stagecoach stop along the Butterfield route, too. The general store built to provide supplies and feed for livestock during the boom times survives today. This historical landmark is preserved to look just as it did in the 1800s.

You can imagine the gold seekers relaxing in front of the pot-bellied stove over a game of checkers.

The ladies came here for sewing supplies.

And hats.

Of course, food was a necessity. I’m sure the customers especially enjoyed the local produce.

The store also served as a stop along the Butterfield Stage route.

So much history has passed through this adobe building. It’s been a post office and a barber shop as well as a store. It’s a fun stop when you are driving along Highway 79. You’ll likely be in your car, but listen carefully and you’ll hear echoes of the stagecoaches that thundered by so long ago.

How about you? Have you felt the layers of history in some place you’ve visited lately?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

 

A Big Sur Treasure

If you’re heading Big Sur way, along the scenic Highway 1 coastline drive in California, take time to find and savor an almost-hidden jewel. The Henry Miller Memorial Library is in a small house in this area where the author lived. He moved here from Europe in 1944 and lived here 18 years. This ramshackle building set in a grove of tall redwoods is more of an experience than a museum.

Look up, look down and you’ll find something intriguing. The fluttering collection of money from visitors around the world continues to grow.

Here’s your invitation from the library’s website: “Come on in for a visit, make yourself a cup of coffee, browse our books, and hang out with Theo the cat on our deck.”

The library provides rich atmosphere for concerts and other events. The day we discovered the library, preparations for a wedding were underway.

Henry Miller’s writing was unconventional. So is the library opened in his honor. Though some of his writing is controversial, here’s a quote that’s not:

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.

I believe even Theo the cat could agree.

How about you? Have you discovered a hidden treasure of a place lately?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My LensSeasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

 


Beauty for the Day

For the beauty of the earth;
For the beauty of the skies;
For the love which from our birth over and around us lies:
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our joyful hymn of praise.

These soft white tulips perfectly display the beauty of our earth, don’t they? These were a gift from my family. I carried the vase from room to room to see how lovely they look with different backgrounds.

Unassuming, not flashy, just calm and gentle, they decorate the day. They remind me that my family surrounds me with love, and that is the greatest of life’s beauties.

Here is a setting of this old hymn text, with music by British composer John Rutter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaMkj4_H8WM

How about you? What’s decorating your day today?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens. Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is the old hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

All You Need Is Love

All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.
The Beatles

When love takes a tangible form like roses and tulips and daisies, you can bask in that love for days. Family and friends have been so kind to send me bouquets of beauty during the last month of health challenges. Flowers greeted me on the doorstep when I arrived home from surgery last week. More came the next day by surprise delivery. They are bouying me up, reminding me that people out there do indeed love me. When you’re recuperating, you may need meds and care and someone to fill your ice water. (Thank you to my husband, best nurse ever!) But in another sense, the love you know is swirling out there is what you most need to pull you along to recovery. Here’s the basket of cheer sent by my daughter and son-in-law.

The tulips opened up the next day and caught the morning sun.

I love yellow roses!

How about you? Have you been given a tangible reminder lately that someone loves you?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, and Life Thru the Lens. Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles.

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