Stay with the small pink flower!

by cheri block

Yesterday, despite the heat here in Northern California, I went for a walk up the road. The dryness of the hillside, the lethargy of the cattle, and the buzz of frenzied insects remind me that the promise of long summer evenings has been broken.



Can you see San Francisco in the distance?


But I knew that already. After all, I’m almost 60. (There! I’ve said it.)

This time of year, when the poison oak leaves show themselves in pink, orange, and red, instead of their usual green camouflage, I look forward to the seasonal metamorphosis.

On our property, acorns drop from the mighty oaks, hoping to lodge in the loam and grow into stately trees, symbols of strength and longevity. Unfortunately for most, squirrels and Labrador retrievers disregard the little seeds’ efforts and eat them up in a quest for fiber.

Only the heartiest of acorns  grows into one of these magnificent trees.

For those of us who are older, staying in the present moment can sometimes be hard to implement, but it is possible.

For some of us who are younger, staying in the present moment can sometimes be hard to implement, but it is possible.

Then, there’s that hiking trail that goes uphill. The one that takes us past the poison oak on crunchy gravel, the one that takes us to the crest of the hill where a feast of view and breathless awe consume us.

The spring green is dead.

The light air of summer has blown away.

Fall has stripped the sycamores and English walnut trees.

The mighty oaks adjust their coats of green, refusing the autumnal shed.

And even a small pink flower among the dead grasses makes a hopeful statement.


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, My photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Stay with the small pink flower!

  1. Kayti Rasmussen says:

    A memorable post, Cheri. You really put us in the moment. I still have a photo of a tiny blue butterfly tasting the top of Mission Peak.

  2. Richard says:

    A perfect blend of pictures and words, Cheri. They are particularly welcome in London where summer heat is long forgotten and winter chill has set in early. We always hope for an “Indian Summer” in October, but we don’t often get it.

    Think of us here, where the electric blanket season has arrived, while you bask in the beauty and heat of north California.

    I’m not jealous. Green is my natural colour.

  3. Philippe says:

    “…..The dryness of the hillside, the lethargy of the cattle, and the buzz of frenzied insects remind me that the promise of long summer evenings has been broken…….”

    Where I am, the shortening days are about to usher in autumnal mists twisting about burnished trees. What a difference a mere 800 miles northwards makes.

    “…….For those of us who are older, staying in the present moment can sometimes be hard to implement, but it is possible…….”

    As someone at the stage of life where each precious minute is to be clung to as a drowning man clings to a log, I daren’t stray from the present moment lest I be swamped by ever-lurking ever-growing existential terrors.

  4. Geraldine says:

    Hi Cheri,
    Only the delicate pink flowers give a hint of a breeze. I’m reminded of an opening line in one of Bronte’s novels (Jane Eyre!) regarding the weather: “There was no possibility of a walk that day.” I’m lingering by the trees. Thanks.

  5. Man of Roma says:

    Why ‘staying in the present moment can sometimes be hard’?

    You are like one of the three Graces by Canova, delicate and yet made of solid white mar….
    We are from the same ‘steel generation’, did you forget that?


  6. You are the pink flower making the hopeful statement. You stand out and always will no matter what.

    • Cheri says:

      Hope is important, despite what Zen says about No Hope.

      Maybe we should start a thread about the effects of literature expressing hope and literature expressing no hope.

      Do you remember the end of Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent??
      Maybe I should write about that.

  7. jenny says:

    Well, Cheri, I hate to be so predictable.

    You mentioned getting older and mighty oaks and, of course, the mind turns to Prince Andrei Bolkonsky in War and Peace. And if you don’t recall the two scenes with the old oak tree, then, you should go back and read them.

    It’s chilly here.

    I sit in my (absent) daughter’s room, and on the dresser (as if it were a prom photo) is a little costume design drawing for Prince Bolkonsky, who, it seems, appeals to grown women and teenage girls, alike. 🙂

    • Cheri says:

      Sounds like my husband, that Prince Bolkonsky. 🙂

      I’ve been to Chicago when it was below 20 degrees. The Chicagoans seem proud of their ability to withstand bitter cold winds, blown in from the lake.
      I admire than pluck.

      Oh, I’d go sit in my daughter’s room after she left and wonder where the energy in the house had gone.

  8. jenny says:

    Totally off topic, but we need to keep our eyes and ears open for this the next time it rolls around. It would be fun for a bunch of us (Richard? Philippe?) to join in.

    Whaddya think?

  9. Cheri says:

    I love the idea.

    If our Jane Austen story is anything like what we could do, well?

    Too bad Andreas didn’t jump in. He’d have been hilarious.

  10. The pictures and the sparse words do a great job churning up interesting ideas–well done.

  11. wkkortas says:

    Hope and small pink flowers are both distinctly underrrated.

  12. Geraldine says:

    I am trying to place a story I heard or read once. Something tells me it’s the work of one of the Russian masters but I’m not sure. This is the only thread I have of it:

    One day a self-contented gentleman notices a grieving face in a graveyard on one of his walks. This face, so profoundly sad, causes him to examine his own life and his want of feeling…..or something like this. Do you know this one? I’d love to read it.

    I’m off topic, too. Sorry all.
    btw: I like your idea above.

    • jenny says:


      I don’t know who wrote such a story, but I’ll say this: If the gentleman examines his life and still feels utterly confused and has no answers, then it could be Chekhov:

      • Cheri says:

        This little hilarious bit could not have come at a better time.
        My poor mother lost her keys and the e-mail trail that ensued from my sister to me (while I am trying to teach phrases, clauses, and parts of speech) to my new sister-in-law to my brother about what to do and who to call about the keys rivals the cherry orchard and the seagull.

        Three cheers for Chekov: Hip Hip Hooray.

        So much for impotence.

      • Geraldine says:

        Ha, Ha, tears of laughter 🙂 I’ll check Checkov. Thanks, Jenny.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Geraldine,

      Off topic can lead us in much more interesting directions than this predictable post…

    • Man of Roma says:

      Hi Geraldine. So this is how you found me 🙂

      • Geraldine says:

        @Man of Roma
        I found you, Cheri, Richard and Jenny through HB from all those conversations you and the other regulars had over
        there. I’ve listened for a while before chiming in. Now I’m addicted to being uplifted and that’s a good thing. 🙂

      • Man of Roma says:

        Geraldine, I hope you’ll always be uplifted (and not downlifted) by us.

  13. Cyberquill says:

    I don’t see San Francisco in the distance. I think I see Russia, though.

  14. Cheri says:

    How do you guys know I don’t work for the CIA?

  15. Ah, Cheri, your photos are very fine. I can feel the drowsy heat from here, and I adore the one on a slant with the fence in the foreground. I’m moved by the delicacy and wistfulness of your post. Thank you.

  16. ana terán says:

    Beautifully embroidered, your words. In deed.

  17. Cheri says:

    Gracias, mi amiga.

    Como esta usted?

    • ana terán says:

      bien. agotada. terminé la novela, estoy en proceso de edición, y salgo a madrid el lunes, uf! Muchos abrazos,

      • Man of Roma says:

        Great! I am happy you finished you novel! Abbracci da tutto il gruppo allora! Will it be published in Spain btw?

      • Cheri says:


        Safe travels to beautiful Espana. I traveled five years ago to Barcelona and the coast….Catalonia, we were there on Catalonian independence day (my wedding anniversary). Gold and red flags in stripes all over the land. Made me think of Homage to Catalonia by Orwell. Oh the land there reminded me of Northern California.

        Your book? I want to know about the story.

        Muchos abrazos (for non Spanish speakers, this means lots of hugs )
        Much better than “Best”

  18. Cheri says:

    OK, Sledpress, it starts on this post (which I really liked..)
    Jenny posts the Jane Austin Fight Club…
    Follow the dialogue..then it seems to me we jump over to Richard’s blog during the same dates…July 11 or thereabouts.

    Very funny story, which I must admit, I killed in the end.

  19. ana terán says:

    I posted something about my book over at el hombre romano, you might want to read it.
    Not my best, pero sí un abrazo cálido

  20. Cheri says:

    Man of Roma,

    I’m not kidding. One mountain lion per 30 square miles in the East Bay Hills.
    I’ve seen three lions in 15 years.

  21. Pingback: Monday Mood Board - Jane Austen Inspiration | The Special Event Experts

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