Sometimes blog posts miraculously present themselves, like spring flowers after a long winter. The astute blogger just provides the background context, the stands aside to let the reader see the beauty for themselves. This is a nearly verbatim re-presentation of an undated essay written by Lou Hoover.
Flower carpets, green slopes, meadowlarks’ trills. Spring in California! It is coming.
We begin to prepare, in fancy, for the inevitable outings, when the call to adventure gets beyond control.
Afoot. Ahorse. En auto. We yield to the invitation of them all. Even when we say, ‘the motor goes too fast; it misses the charm of the wayside; we can’t tell what flowers they are, only their color.’ Even then, we more often take the auto, because it gets us farther afield in less time.
Occasionally having to go to Lost Hills and Taft and Coalings, I will prepare to make as many of these journeys as possible in the next few months, and to take as many routes as possible in order to see as many hundreds of millions of wild flowers as may be before the summer sun drives them away.
I had to go to Lost Hill’s this week… and I rejoiced at the hints of spring in sight and smell. It is in the air. Early, this year.
The hills and roadsides are already very green. Green are the more than twenty miles of empty sloping plain between the foothills and the first fields east, hundreds of square miles green here now, where was not a fresh blade all of last year. Dust they lay for more than a year, dry dust of the desert, from which it did not seem that leaf nor flower could ever spring again. And now it is all emerald carpet. A couple of months intervening, and too heavy frost not interfering, hundreds of miles long, and it will be a Persian rug of California flowers, hundreds of miles long. A score or two or three miles wide, the object of pilgrimage to thousands. And yet few people know that it exists.
Now it is green promise. Promise strengthened by a few gay poppy and mustard blooms on hardy year-old wayside plants, as one drives up Salinas valley. The Salinas valley, beautiful on a windless day, a soft hazy day, making the most lovely pastels of broad river flats, of almost leafless willows and poplars, of too closely cropped hillsides, and of blue mystic opalescent mountain distances.
A perfect road, of generous width and broad sweeps and curves, giving constantly changing vista and panorama. A valley of ineffable loveliness today, who could believe that it might be of biting cold or blasting heat, swept by a wind of seeming everlasting unrest!
The typescript of this essay is in box 81 of Lou Henry Hoover’s subject files. Also in the folder is Lou’s handwritten draft, a version differing from the final typescript only in the elimination of a few words.