After a three year drought, the Bay Area trails are dry and dusty. Hot winds whip up the soil, and leaves gasp for just a taste of water. But last week, a surprise summer rain gave the trails a sweet teasing kiss of rain.
After the sudden storm, I went out to a local trail to see the reaction of the forest. The clouds were still crowding the sky, and beams of direct sunlight hit the forest like spotlights, accenting a tree here, or a branch there.
The dusty leaves had been washed by the rain, and they sparkled and reflected the light. You could almost hear them coughing out the dust from their pores.
Little droplets of water hung from stray strands of spider webs. The ground below seemed to be waiting anxiously for the drops to lose their grip and fall to the thirsty earth.
Mosses were vibrant and glowing. Wet moss stands up to take in as much water as possible, and is soft and delicate to the touch.
The sunlight danced across the trunks, branches and leaves, painting a new picture every moment. The bushes and bay leaves were pungent with a fresh clean scent, and the air was filled with odors of spices, chocolate and berries.
Madrones were shining a glassy red. The moisture added contrast to the bark, and it stood out among the subdued greens and fading yellows of the foliage.
The baby redwoods of this trail also had a bath. Their grooves and lines were deeper and sharper. Little chickadees and titmouse were bouncing up and down on the branches, happy to see a few drops of water puddling in places. They found the little pools in the cracks and valleys of the trees, and jumped and splashed about.
At the end of this pretty trail is a cluster of redwoods, descendants of the giants that hold up the walls and ceilings of San Francisco. The light and contrast made them stand out like they were posing for a portrait.
It was nice to see the change, even though it was just a taste. This winter, I hope to see full streams, and branches heavy with moisture. I hope to see new life and a happy, vibrant forest. What ever the winter holds, it is best to have positive, hopeful expectations...