Footsteps of Spring

After months of inactivity because of my deteriorating joint and recuperation after my knee replacement, I took my first walk off pavement. Heading out on a weekday gave me the solitude I was seeking to reconnect to a place I love—Mt. Tamalpais State Park with its high ridges in the Douglas fir forest and open coastal scrub grasslands, steep valleys filled with redwoods, and creeks that trickle in the summer and rage in the winter. It was a classic late afternoon in March, sunny and clear but with that chilly wind blasting loudly through the trees that tells you the weather could still slide back into a California winter.

With my trekking poles, I walked slowly, not only to accommodate my wobbly leg with weakened muscles, but to savor coming back into the forest. I usually am outdoors frequently enough to watch the transition between the seasons, but since it has been months, this time I stepped directly into damp and green instead of dry and brown. The early flowers are blooming—footsteps of spring, hound’s tongue, milkmaids, wild cucumber.

Hound’s Tongue

Hounds tongue

I arrived at the viewpoint, looking out over the forest and the ocean on a day when the line of the ocean blended into the sky, grateful to be able to take in that view for the first time in so long.

It was only a little more than a mile round-trip, but I walked so much farther than that—back into strength, a quieted mind, and a world of beauty that I have so missed.

Looking West at the Pacific Ocean from the Viewpoint



  1. Beautiful photos, and I can identify with your experience, almost, because I just had shoulder surgery, and am recovering nicely. We are both Woodswomen and we know what the solitude and forest mean to us. I’m going to begin (again) walking to train for the Camino de Santiago in September and October. Shoulder fixed, CHECK. Snowy weather almost gone, CHECK. Walking sticks, CHECK.

    Thanks for reminding me there are others out there whose solitude is found in the woods.

  2. What a lovely and hopeful harbinger of spring and times to come! From capturing nature through a window(the last comment I remember) to enjoying the view -and even that biting wind you described- you are moving on and out to where you love to be. Thank you for sharing these moments and feelings.

    We are OK – More “anon” (as is often said). With love, Harriet and Al

  3. Enjoy the lyricism of your writing highlighting the beautiful photos. So happy that you are healing well!

  4. I enjoyed your post and photos. Hound’s Tongue is one of my favorite flowers to photograph on Mt. Tam. Tam/Muir Woods is my favorite place to hike and where I feel most at peace. It’s also where I took my first hikes in ’11 & ’12 after having minor surgeries. Best of luck in your continued recovery and rehabilitation

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