Groundspotting at Bonelli Park

Whether I am window-shopping on Wilshire Blvd, or climbing Mt. Baldy, walking is the name of my game.  As much as I am a self-professed walktropoler (i.e., metropolis walker) during the week, I am also a nature stalker on weekends. In fact, hiking is probably one of my top 1559 favorite things to do of ALL time.  So on weekends, I religiously go on my morning hikes.

Lately, I’ve been going to Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas, since it isn’t too far from where I live. Besides being nearby, it’s really a pleasant place.  The huge reservoir in the center of the park is the main attraction for picnickers, swimmers, water skiers, fishermen, and boaters.

Reservoir View

Puddingstone

Tree in water

But in the foothills surrounding the lake, you’ll run into fellow hikers, bird watchers, runners, horseback riders, and mountain bikers.  Well, with about 14 miles of hilly terrain, there’s a lot of ground to cover and lots to see.

Bonelli Trail

Bonelli Hill Trail

Horse Stables at Bonelli

Speaking of seeing, the other day, I took my camera with the intention of taking pictures for this post.  As I wandered along one of the loopy trails, I noticed that I couldn’t clearly see the landscape before me.  Everything was blurry, as if I were staring too closely at a Monet.  I naturally reached to take off my glasses and rub my eyes, but I soon found out I wasn’t wearing them! I’m near-sighted, so everything beyond 10 feet is a blur!  “What a waste!” I thought to myself, “How can I take pictures without my freakin’ glasses?!”  I continued my hike as usual. But I was bummed out, so I must have been slouching and staring at the dirt, the nearest view in sight.  I walked and slouched and walked some more… and slowly, almost magically my eyes became fixated on all the shades of green, red, and even neon yellow that began to peek through the soil, as if to say, “Hey, we’re ready for our close-up!”

Mulch

Ground Galaxy

Curiosities filled the ground, and I could clearly see all the different lines, shades, and shapes of nature.  Glorious strokes radiant in front of me.

All the Vertical Stripes!

All the Vertical Stripes!

And sweeping lines!

See the star?

See the star?

Beauty, I realized, is as much in the entire landscape as it is in the dirt.

The flowers along the trail waved at me as I passed by them.  I felt like a runner in a race.  I waved to my fans, high-fiving the few I could reach.

Waving Flowers

Lone Fan

When I finally reached the reservoir, I was again drawn to the ground below me.

Puddingstone Water

Rocks n Water

Shore

I think I have a new hobby, folks, I’m calling it groundspotting!

There’s Something About Riverside

When I was a student at UCR, a lot of my friends would complain that the city of Riverside was ugly.  “It’s hot and there’s nothing to do here!” was their communal complaint. Though I wanted so badly to agree with them and share in those brief moments of camaraderie that come when a group shares the same opinion, I never budged.  I refused to. Believe me, I’ve always been well aware that Riverside isn’t Beverly Hills, and I know that to see the beauty in it takes a certain light with a certain angle and a certain squint even.  But my allegiance to this town is unrelenting.  It is after all the place where my dad worked for the final twenty years of his life, and where I go to whenever I feel the grass around his headstone needs trimming.

Riverside is special.

At least downtown is. And it isn’t just my own associations that make it special.  You’ll see it too when you come down. You’ll see it as you window shop and stare into those curious antique shops that always have the most interesting—if not jumbled—window displays that someone named Penny or Sue carefully put together.

Penny's Window Display

Antique WIndow Display

You’ll see it in the old soulful buildings that are now museums,

Riverside Art

banquet halls,

Riverside Banquet Hall

Pink Roses

and grand hotels.

Mission Inn

Though renovated, their old age is beautifully obvious in their creased window trims once carved by toiling hands.

Window Trims

You’ll see it in the eyes of the happy couple who smiles at you as they make their way to dinner arm in arm in love in a moment.

You’ll even see it in the trees—all those trees scattered around the city! As you enjoy a coconut cupcake underneath a swaying jacaranda on an easy Sunday afternoon with your yapping friend, you’ll see!

Casey's Cupcakes

Oh and the sky! That open Riverside sky that you don’t get in big cities! The clouds constantly shifting, and the blue, red, and orange colors blending progressively with each other giving westward flowing traffic an evening sky show.

What Riverside lacks in reputation, it makes up for in essence—a peaceful, serene, nostalgic essence available to anyone who will receive it.

DSC_1526

Riverside Bell