Euterpe Farms, Ventura River Basin, Ojai, California

 

Here comes the first day of Spring. I can already feel it in the air and see it in the trees and plants, flowers pushing up from the raw ground, new green appearing on the limbs of ancient oak trees, the ritual of renewal on full display, filling the world with the naked, unavoidable optimism of the season.

My hike in the hills feels like a release, sucking fresh ocean air deep into my lungs, the feel of my feet on the trail, and the push of my legs as my body warms to the effort. Instead of an ache, the exertion becomes a kind of joy, and I find myself laughing like a pressure valve suddenly flung open, my inner dog tearing across a field in pursuit of a ball, or eight-year-olds bursting out of school for recess.

But there’s more to the feeling than the familiarity of green grass, the pace of a step, and the sound of my breath, a feeling much older than a nature walk or a trail hike. Trees and bushes, all bursting with life, blue sky, and fast-moving clouds, all come together, releasing me from my inner prison, the fierce wind of the future, the burden of phone and computer, and the endless push I place on myself. Here comes the first day of Spring.