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A change in scenery is good for the spirit Richard Pena | Sat, Apr 16 2011 12:00 PM

A change in scenery yields a variety of landscapes in one day

Last Monday dawned with the promise of a nice day. The cover of rain clouds and other forms of precipitation had seemed to evaporate and all that was left was the blue sky, marred only by the lazy entry of puffs of cirrus, wending their way in the direction to which the slight breeze was taking them.

Actually, marred is the wrong term. The presence of these clouds seemed to enhance the intensity of the blue, something that is very acceptable at this time of year.

That morning we sat on our deck marveling at these positive attributes of nature. It is mornings like this that make us contented to be around and to be able to be a part of our patented scheme, even though it was given to us by some other hand.

There were others around who seemed to be engulfed in the tranquility of the moment. These were the birds that had come out of their temporary hiding places, some singing, others chirping and the rest just making the raucous, but acceptable tones of their characteristic intonations, looking, I suppose, for that early worm or other morsel that might be laying about.

Even my favorite raven, Henry - or one of his brothers - made his presence known, swooping about the back yard as if it were his own private air drone. To paraphrase the poet, God is around and all's right with the world.

Our previous weather condition that has deposited nearly 12 inches of rain in our valley is largely responsible for the plethora of growth and greenery in the backyards of the valley, ours being no exception. As I looked about it I recalled that most of the permanent vegetation lending splendor to our garden was at the hand of my wife, Zula.

In the more than 50 years that we have lived here she, more than anyone else, is responsible for most of the growth. For example, she put in the Pride of Madera plant when it was scarcely six inches high. Today it covers an area six feet across and boasts more foliage than it ever had. The large spears of blue, pointing majestically skyward and measuring a good 10 inches, number in the hundreds and dominate the garden area. Not to be outdone the smaller rosemary bushes that adjoin the Maderas, are vying for attention, growing their own buds of blue in competition. They will never attain that stature but they, nevertheless, try.

While looking at my greenery I was thinking of our jaunt to the backcountry a couple of days before. My son David had dropped in for a few days and the lure of a ride came quickly to mind.

He had one of those comfortable SUV's hence I could settle in for a pleasant journey. It had been sometime since I had been in the vicinity of Boulevard that "metropolis" of sorts that lies out there to the East nearly to the end of Highway 94, or, what we used to call, the old Campo Road.

On the way we, of course, stopped at some of those way stations, the railroad station at Campo being one of them. We hoped to see the train depart on one of its weekend jaunts but missed it. It was out chugging along with a group of railroad enthusiasts, happy for the adventure.

We wended our way home on the old Highway 8, that is, on the parts of the road that are still there. If you will recall in years past that was the only way out of San Diego if one were going east. There is many a time that we used to pack the kids in the car along with enough clothing and such to start a Thrift Store and head to Texas and Alabama and points beyond. Ah, but that is a different story. This time we were content to call it a trip with only two more stops.

One of these was at the Kitchen Creek Campgrounds, one of the many county parks in our area. This one has running water in a creek and is set in a cluster of live oak trees.

Our final stop was at Alpine. We had to have that mandatory late breakfast stop at Major's. While enjoying our meal we observed sunshine, rain, hail and what looked like snow. The changes in the weather sort of capped off a perfect trip.

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