I have an almost perverse love of taking photos out the windows of moving cars. A downed oak trunk in the foreground, and the tiny shape of a grazing cow in the middle-distance.
Today was the first day in ages that I didn't have something I had to do. I got it into my head that Robb and I should head up to Mount Diablo to see the spring wildflowers. And because I really, really wanted to just stare out the window, I asked if he could drive.
Since Robb uses a specially adapted car, we can't switch off driving. Depending on which car we take, one of us has to do all the driving. He can't drive my car, and I can't drive his. Typically, I do all the longer drives, in case he runs out of energy.
Spring in Northern California is insanely green. So green that it makes your eyes sizzle. So green that it looks fake.
Doesn't this landscape bear an uncanny resemblance to the set-ups for model railroads? I have a fascination with the texture of model railroad trees. I have to resist the urge to squish them, in person. Good thing that I don't find myself in the vicinity of model train hobbyists very often, huh?
Actually, those tiny round-looking trees are gigantic, ancient oaks. I've read that something like eight percent of California's land is classified as "oak woodlands."
These trees are massive. Many are "live oaks," meaning they don't shed their leaves in the fall. These trees have leathery, almost holly-like leaves. They're tough, gnarled, beautiful trees. And they're absolutely huge.
Mount Diablo is a truly wonderful place. Thanks to the foresight (and fundraising) of many Califorians, Mount Diablo State park has 20,000 acres of preserved wild lands. In the immediate area, there are about 90,000 protected acres. Considering that the surrounding areas are known for their congestion and suburban sprawl, the protection of this much land is quite an accomplishment.
The topography of the mountain is spectacular. These giant rock formations prompted a "stopthecar! stopthecar!" moment on our drive today. Consider that the spread of an oak tree's canopy can be from fifty to a hundred feet, and you'll get a sense of the size of those stone "fins."
It's ironic, I suppose that while I admire the local oaks so very much, and while I live in Oak-Land, I'm terribly allergic to oak pollen. The last week has been miserable. Tree pollen levels are incredibly high. My eyes have been so swollen that my body just shuts down, apparently interpreting my inability to keep my eyes open with the need for sleep.
Lok how puny the actual oak flowers are! You'd hardly think that something so small could pack such a punch.