Saturday, June 03, 2006


Today I walked to the Mad River with Big Brown Dog. There’s a green field, sloping down to the river, covered with little yellow blossoms.

If you squint your eyes, the contrast becomes sharper. The greens become greener, the yellows more yellow.

There are meticulous patterns of waving green stalks, topped with random spatters of color – mostly yellow, but some white, some purple.

The closer you look, the more you see. In the spring, there’s even a very rare flower. It’s considered an endangered plant species. I don’t recall the name, but I’ve seen them.

I’m also always impressed by the wild purple iris. They grow in abundance around the Hiller Loop Trail. There's a nice stripe of yellow in the purple.

And then there’s the common yellow daffodil. They grow all over. In the early days, a lot of McKinleyville landowners tried to make a living in the flower bulb business. Their businesses died, and they died too. But their legacy blooms every year.

Today I was admiring the yellow blossoms near the Mad River when I noticed something moving in the grass. About a dozen bright yellow finches fluttered into the sky and flew away.

They were spectacular. Just finches, but beautiful. Like race cars. Bright yellow.

I couldn’t help but think of Phil, my neighbor where I grew up. Phil built an amazing aviary filled with finches. Next time I go down to San Mateo, I’ll look forward to seeing Phil – and his aviary.

The finches were the highlight of this week’s wildlife viewings. I saw the yellow ones near the river. At my house I have finches with orange or red heads.

The cats enjoy the starlings. They kill them and present them as gifts. It fills them with a sense of pride.

I don't care for the starling corpses. I prefer the finches, which the cats for some reason avoid.

The finches are the stars. They even surpassed the great blue heron, the white herons, the harbor seals, the angry sea lion, the Roosevelt elk and even the fox that I saw this week.

I saw the fox on Tuesday. Mid day on the Hammond Trail. Weird. Was he rabid, or just enjoying the sun? I’ve never spotted a fox on the trail before.


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