Two differences in particular caught my attention this trip. First, with all the leaves gone still, there were long-distance views I'd not fully appreciated before. I'm not sure why; I've been up there a few times this past winter, but for whatever reason, the views surprised me. I didn't really need to see or hear the Westside Highway more (I can get that two blocks from my house, if I want it), but even so the longer vistas fed my need for space nicely, and made familiar places seem new.
Second, when I walked through the garden, the heather - usually a supporting character - was taking its own star turn. This plot of land is called the Heather Garden in fact, and I've always appreciated its lush ground cover in the past, but most of the time other bigger, taller and more spectacular blooms have drawn my focus. This time though, except for some crocuses and what, to my inexpert eye, appear to be crocus relations, virtually the only thing blooming was the heather.
I'd forgotten how many colors it came in, to be honest. Seeing this earthy rainbow, I was reminded of drives through the Scottish Highlands, and Donegal in Ireland. The latter region is known for its multicolored tweed, and once you've seen their hills in springtime, you can guess where the inspiration came from.
I have a soft spot for heather for another reason; one of the best naps I ever had was lying, wrapped in my trench coat, on a bed of it, on the side of an Irish mountain, after I'd taken a long hike. As long as there is some barrier between its scratchy needles and your skin, the branches are remarkably springy. I slept like like a baby.
Mind you, my list of fondly remembered naps is not extensive, but this one was incredible. I'd be tempted to try in Fort Tryon, but there would probably be some objections.
Will ye go Lassie go,
And we'll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather,
We'll ye go Lassie go.
traditional Scots Song.