Constellation Trail – winter

Monochrome gray, shades of late winter wheat in the dry straw low to the ground with broken flower stalks littered about like tiny loggers flotsam. Look closer to see tiny pointy green children hiding beneath,  snuggled up in the shade and cover of family heritage. 

  The crunch of decomposed granite, lazy scuffing and foot dragging beneath hungry shoes set the pace for the trail ahead.

   Up above in the canopy , golden leaves drop from live oaks like confetti, fresh plump red buds  full of promise for spring. Tiny kindergarten leaf sprouts peeking out at the playground. The cold air of early spring keeps them close to the vine

 Hoarhound leaves wrinkled gray begin to rise. Sea green lichen on red granite far inland from the oceans of today, who knows what tectonic upheaval from seas of yesterday placed this stone in the path. The day after a rain springs forth tiny riverlets. moving the ancient grains carved by eons of seasonal barrages scaring the trail.  Tiny stones rolling and tumbling down the ant highway no wider than a tossed popsicle stick left behind by a careless child.

  A solid Monument placed to honor brave souls from a failed attempt to skirt the Dell like a bird only to be lost into the mountain side. Silvery metallic pieces of the Constellation airship gathered together in a mound circled with stones, a few bones from past technology but no bones from the souls who perished. 

  Shadow plays with silhouetted branches winter bare, yet some green leaves above illuminate like neon barroom signs along this darkened  twisting alley of a trail in the high desert woods.

  Spanish apple with dark burgundy red trunks and smooth branches full of waxy green leaves and laden with blushed pink flowers full of the promise of Manzanita fruit in the coming fall. Small pines along the worn caramel trail twist and curve overhead while encouraging their young to strive and grow below, pushing silvery blue young pre pubescent needles to gather the warm sun later to be replaced with longer green needles of adulthood sharply pointed full across the arms of the conifers.

 The Dells. An outcropping of haphazardly stacked and jumbled granite boulders split and rough polished, pocked with splotches of green, orange and black lichen and moss. Long vertical and perpendicular cracks stained with the outline of mineral and metallic iron deposits appear to be mother nature’s petroglyphic attempt to communicate.

 New growth is beginning all around to be seen with open eyes, nurtured sprouts are secure and safe in the shelter of decaying ancestral nourishment. Broken arms piled upon themselves with peeling skin burnt from summer scorch, whole bodies pulled to the ground by the tidal gravity of regeneration, rebirth. Knowledge of the old does not mix in the compost, these things are to be absorbed from the wind, sun, and forces that consume even hard granite; not gifted but learned from sacrifice, buttress, callous and scars from the sap of life sparingly parceled and paid to the force of nature.

 Listen carefully, ears find a hidden symphony behind the incessant piccolo parade whistling ever constant, deep within the dark room behind the eyes hidden from sight but almost as visible as a flashbulb. Suddenly the breeze moves a branch against another, leaves flutter and scratch their way to the forest floor. The bubbly babble of the rain filled brook dropping across broken stones echoing in a chamber of rocks surrounding a small pool. A small airplane drones overhead singing a lament, a dirge to the lost Navy Airmen chattering in the rill, able to speak only when the rains bring them a voice. Quiet focus is suddenly jarred by the backup beeping of a distant tractor or heavy equipment perhaps from nearby roadwork finding a rhythmic pattern to awaken the piccolo players in life’s noisy parade.

 Stones push through stones, hard milky white quartz fills and expands the weakened granite cracks, a stronger and sharper vision to radiate in the sun. No decay or lichen on this learned wise rock but alas it too is finally cleaved and scattered still holding the memories of fire and ice. This land is full of pointy, sharp and poisonous agitators always ready to add to the sun baked scars that scratch at every surface.

 Cross yet another  trickling babbling brook of rolling diamonds shining in the bright sun blinding the eye like ribbons of Mylar lightning catching the light. The trail bends towards a familiar path crossed earlier. The last tree before the black parking lot is is silver gray Juniper with hard round,  smooth berries heavy on the branches, the rich fragrance cleanses the air. 

 This trail comes to an end, there are many more to explore