This past October was horrific for wine country. Everyone experienced loss and/or trauma in varying degrees. The uncertainly of evacuations, and then returning to whatever future lay ahead… Let’s just say, it’s something none of us prefer to go through again. PTSD pops up at unexpected moments, even if it’s just the wind picking up. We’re left to wonder, where’s the silver lining?

Spring has its way of answering

I got an Email from our friend Barbara:

 “It’s an ill wind that blows no good”

“I was up on the Ranch this afternoon and what a treat!!  Yes, the Ranch bears the terrible scars of the fire.  But there is a bright spot – the wildflowers have never been better.  Carpets of lupine roll down the hills.  Patches of blue-eyed grass compete with the lupine in ways never seen before.   The Douglas iris are just starting to come.  Add to that yellow, white and orange flowers I don’t even know the names of.  And of course everything is green, green, green – the Ranch lands have never been more spectacular.  So, come, let’s go for a Wildflower Hike, this Saturday, 1:00 p.m.

Fires happens in California’s autumn. In our case, it was due to power lines. So it wasn’t nature. Still, the results are the same… Fire, ash that becomes fertilizer (converted to nitrogen), spring rains that soak the soil, plants are fertilized and a flash of color unlike anything else seen in years happens when the sun begins to have longer days. Many people on this walk have walked this field before. They marveled that they had NEVER seen it like it was this spring… That we may never see this ever again, even, it was such a rarity. I feel blessed that my camera and I were invited. I gave wine writing up for the day, as I had planned to be doing, and got outside. This is what I saw, on this beautiful day. There are so many more of these pictures, it’s just too much to even begin to understand, if you didn’t take those two + hours with us. Still, I’m betting that you’ll enjoy this synopsis.

The 2017 Wine Country Spring, after the fires…

This picture is at the top of our hike. This is Sonoma County’s Purple Mountain Majesty… This is what Katharine Lee Bates meant, when she wrote those words. She must have seen the following images, live and in person. It’s never meant anything to me before now. I had never seen it… Now, I know.

Everywhere I looked, the purple lupine was everywhere… the tops of knolls, along the hillsides, and down into valley.

Vistas so beautiful, they almost took my breath away. As you study this image, pay special attention to the brown, in the oak trees. Therein lie the scars.

Colors so vibrant, they were almost dizzying.

Intoxicating aromas. Many were trying to identify them. I have a super palate (an over abundance of taste, and smell also gets super concentrated). It’s usually a curse, not a blessing; in this case it was a blessing…

It smelled so purple… Grapey; as one person commented, it smelled like Purple Kool-Aid. The aromatics matched the visual.

The flowers are on acres and acres of land… Purple Lupine has taken over.

Up and down every hillside.

Some flowers we couldn’t even identify, off in a little field all of its own.

In another meadow, purple irises popped up everywhere. I saw what looked like a mushroom’s “fairy ring,” except it was all irises.

For instance, what ARE these flowers?

While there are remnants everywhere… from all of this to spender in the grass, is all I can write…