I took Joe the dog up in the foothills of Mt Diablo yesterday, to a short trail we've often been on. This trail ends at a lovely view, with two valley oak trees standing guard. We probably hadn't been there in a year.
As I approached the trees, I noticed something different.
Someone had put a swing in one of the oaks, for the express pleasure of a hiker coming upon it unexpectedly.
As I got closer, I realized the swing seat was painted.
I love this scripture, and looking out at the expansive view, it was easy to picture a love that big.
As I was swinging, I realized that the roots of the trees were slightly exposed, making it a perfect place for a cache of some kind, or letterbox. So I explored the roots of the first tree; nothing. Then I went to the roots of the second tree and saw a flash. I knelt down. Firmly stuck into the ground was a silver arching wire, with a capital letter 'B' charm, and a butterfly. Behind it, underneath the tree, was a card.
I read the card. Out of respect for the people who put it there, I did not take a picture of the contents, but there were two short notes inside, one signed "Love, Mom" and one signed "Love, Dad" - and those notes were to a baby - either stillborn or miscarried. The notes were incredibly personal and they affected me very much. I left that place feeling full of emotion, both for the wonderful surprise of a swing and a scripture, and the tenderness of the memorial. You never know what you're going to find hiking.
I stopped on the way home to buy a few bee plants for the garden, salvia and cosmos. As I was planting them in the yard, I picked up a piece of trash. Turns out it wasn't trash, it was a long orange mushroom. I damaged it while picking it, but here's a picture nonetheless. I think it's way cool. I need to take a local mushroom class, so I can name all the pretty and strange fungi I find in my yard.
A few weeks ago, I found a recipe for chocolate pudding on one of my favorite cooking websites, The Kitchn. I liked that it used two kinds of chocolate, both powdered and bar, and it is truly delicious. I use unsweetened chocolate instead of bittersweet, and the pudding has a deep and rich chocolate flavor, with very little sugar. I made it again today for Tom's birthday dinner, tomorrow night. It's hard to wait that long to eat it.
Lately I've discovered that chocolate is a very serious trigger for my migraines, which I thought I had under control. So I don't eat it very often. I will, however, eat this. It's a birthday, after all.