On every hike I hope to take at least one photograph worth keeping. That goal reminded me today of Ernest Hemingway’s dictum, “All you have to do is write one true sentence.” He never said what one true sentence he wrote, and I don’t know what true photographs I ever took. But today I have at least one worth keeping.
I’m still hunting early spring wildflowers in the foothills and got off 75 shots today. The day was glorious for a hiker and a shooter, and I made the most of it. The temperature reached 75 degrees in the shade, and I had full sun all day. I was on the trail from 10:30 in the morning until 6:15 in the evening.
I went back to Hall Ranch Open Space, 20 miles north of here. Two weeks ago I hiked there, but on a different trail. Today I hiked a perfect loop, up the Nighthawk Trail for 5 miles until I reached Button Rock Trail for a bit and then returned on a section of the Nelson Loop and finally back on the Bitterbrush Trail, about 10 miles roundtrip.
Of course, I could have make the hike a lot quicker. But why? Besides stopping to photograph the natural beauty that presented itself to my eyes, the stop that I will remember the longest was off the Nighthawk Trail.
At 12:30 I reached a crest and stopped for lunch, feasting on some raw organic macadamia nuts that I got at yesterday’s farmers market and water. I found myself in an isolated glade surrounded by pines and a lone juniper. I read a chapter in the book I’m carrying in my pack, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on “Nature.” After eating, I took off my boots and socks to air out and thought, what the hell, why not strip and sunbathe on the grass in the nude. The bees were buzzing around, reminding me of the start of one of my favorite poems, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats:
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
I lived alone in a bee-loud glade for a memorable hour today.