As a majority of the country has been battling epic snow storms and bomb cyclones, the southwest has witnessed rains that haven't come about in nearly 20 years. I recall moving to southern California nineteen years ago on Valentines Day and thinking that this new home could easily rival the rainfall of the Pacific Northwest. It remained that way for a majority of the year. This was not exactly what I had expected.
There is an upside to this unconventional season. We are no longer experiencing a dangerous and decade long drought. This born pluviophile is able to savor weather not customary to the area. My garden is award winning. And the rolling landscape has been blanketed in a sea of wildflowers otherwise known as, "the superbloom".
The hills look as though they've snuggled into their coziest green sweater, emblazoned with dramatic floral appliques. California poppies, lupine, yellow mustard and a myriad of colorful varieties have blossomed as far as the eye can see. These wildflowers have taken center stage and have attracted the hearts and Instagram feeds of many.
I could not resist joining the herd and witnessing this wonder for myself. I am extremely fortunate to boast stunning wildlife and nature trails right in my own backyard, but I also wanted to take part in what the State Parks were advertising, as well.
Like everyone else, I had poppy fever.
They do not disappoint. These brilliant blooms blanket entire hillsides with such an elegant force. With very careful consideration, I chose to visit Chino Hills State Park, as to protect the delicate landscape of the more heavily populated tourist sites. I was able to observe, in private serenity, how cunning nature can be to never reveal all of its cards. It saves several surprises for special occasions only. The air still smelled like Winter, crisp and sharp, but the sun and the landscape offered a teaser of the seasonal transition to Spring. Even after years of drought, these hills not only expertly restored themselves, but transformed into unexpected levels of beauty. I was handsomely rewarded with this prelude to Spring, exuberant and awe-inspiring. This early bird caught the proverbial worm.
While I languished in the scarcity of human intrusion, I was not alone.
These winter superblooms attracted a migration of millions of Painted Lady butterflies to the region (and I mean, millions). Coupled with the vibrant landscape, this hike certainly made for an unforgettable and impressive experience. Well worth the trip.
Given the opportunity, I will always opt outside and welcome nature's generous gifts. We may not see this vibrant display again next year, so the time is always right to seize the opportunity, savor the season and nourish the senses (while unequivocally respecting the landscape). Next week, a new season is upon us and I welcome that new world with open arms, an open heart, and an open soul.