The buckeye first caught my eye; it's a tree I dislike at other times. In the late summer, when the world is full of lush greenery and flowers, its leaves turn brown and spoil the landscape. But when humans are saying, "I'm ready for Spring," and it's still February, the buckeye, or horse chestnut, puts on its party clothes way ahead of time and is, for a while, the prettiest one.
bay leaves for cooking. Since then I've seen what may be the biggest bay tree on earth, and I've stuck many a spray of leaves into my flour buckets to keep out bugs. In Oregon they call this tree the Oregon Myrtle, and some people know it as Pepperwood. The usual leaves you buy in a jar for cooking are milder and come from a different tree altogether--though the California "bay" leaves that I can gather on my walks have been good enough for this culinary make-doer.
This bay tree has full flowers on it...which makes me wonder if some are male and some female; but the Wikipedia article on this species doesn't say anything about that.
The handsome Pacific Madrone trees, which I've always known just as Madrones, it turns out are related to the Strawberry Tree in my own back yard, as they are both arbutus.
And the clouds, and the blue sky! Going north on the interstate, with the wide flatlands spreading out on either side of me, the ceiling was huge and broad. Dark clouds piled up like stair-stepping plateaus, and then disappeared behind me. I so wanted to catch their drama with my camera, and I'm ashamed to say I'd probably have tried while zooming along the freeway, but by then my windshield was too buggy.
I had to find a likely exit, where there would be a nice view, and a place to park. The first public rest area had a tall chain link fence all around it and not a very good look at the sky, but even the scraggly eucalyptus seemed lovely to me that day.
He shall be like a treeLord, water me with Your mercy and make me like my tree friends.
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.