Home > Family, Parenting, Photos, Youth > Landscapes of the heart

Landscapes of the heart

The landscape of Los Angeles is very different from that of my childhood home of Eugene, Oregon. There, dark, damp trails were shadowed by tall evergreens; here, many dusty trails are lined by dry brush barely knee high.


Yesterday my husband and I took our son on a short hike at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. The scenery varied from that of the butte I hiked numerous times in youth, but the feeling was very much the same.

Come back here! parents yell.

(This time, I am the parent.)

You’re getting too far ahead! I can’t see around curves!


(It’s true. How many times did my mom shout these admonitions with four of us underfoot?)

Do you see that bird over there? If you’re really still, maybe we’ll get a chance to look at it closer. Oh, but you have to be quiet, too!


(Little hands on big shoulders; no longer are the little hands mine.)

Look at this flower! If you move too fast, you miss these little sights.


(My mother-eyes see all the risks, but also the adventure present and past.)

I was little when I hiked with my mom in Oregon. I’ve grown much bigger now than I was then, and I’m now the one shouting cautionary words.

All the same, I feel my littleness when I hike these days. I feel my mom’s admonitions and love as my son kicks up dust ahead of me. I bask in the goodness of imagining my son someday being the parent shouting warnings on family hikes.

The physical landscapes of Eugene and Los Angeles offer many marvels, to be sure. And yet I can’t help but feel, then same as now same as then, it’s the landscapes of the heart that make these adventures eternal.

  1. December 29, 2013 at 7:04 am

    It’s an empty feeling to lose sight of them even for a moment. What a wonderful hike you all had. dear rosie at Wondering Rose wrote about many hikes she, family and friends took in your area.

    • December 30, 2013 at 5:55 am

      We talked with him before we went about how important it would be for him to listen, and how the hike would be a very, very short one if he didn’t. He only made it around one bend early in the hike, but wariness prompted us to call out reminders when he got close. Just in case!

      I need to check out Wandering Rose. I meant to do so when you and I caught up earlier in the year, but forgot. As I am wont to do. 🙂

      • December 30, 2013 at 6:13 am

        Alas, Rosie stopped blogging soon after we met up. Still we keep up via e-mail. However, her site is still up including many hiking day trips. Note: Wondering Rose with an “o”.

  2. December 29, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Thank you for sharing these moments. It brought back my own recent-ish memories of the same calls to my children. It brings back all the feelings of enjoyment, apprehension, exasperation, panic, and togetherness that happen during those walks… and those feelings happened within seconds of each other. Mostly, I remember it as wonderful family time. So happy that you all have the opportunity to share that time together, and that it brings back your own fond memories. AND that you can experience wonderful hikes even living in a big city such as L.A.! Much love and big hugs to you!

    • December 30, 2013 at 5:57 am

      We sometimes go strolling around the park where we got married, but I got a hankering to take him somewhere else. I went hiking a bunch of times in law school, but all those hikes are quite a traffic-y trek up north! I’m excited to explore the other trails that might be a bit closer to home. Our Saturday morning search revealed a few. 😀 😀 😀

  3. December 29, 2013 at 11:48 am

    How right you are. And isn’t it wonderful to travel on these memory paths, while establishing new ones as well. Double delight.

    • December 30, 2013 at 5:59 am

      “Double delight” says it just right! I’m already looking forward to our next outing, though it’ll probably be another month or so. (This trail is, happily, great for strollers, so we’ll be able to go back even after our newest addition joins us.)

  4. December 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    The child HAS to run ahead, while the parent shouts cautions. I think it’s in the contract you sign before they let you be born. 😉
    I couldn’t do those hikes. I gotta have trees. Goes with my wooden sense of humour. 😀

    • December 30, 2013 at 6:00 am

      I don’t remember signing that contract, but it wouldn’t surprise me!

      (There’s very, very little I remember of the days around my meeting Li’l D for the first time. :p)

  5. December 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    So very well put. – no longer are the little hands mine – where does the time go??

    • December 30, 2013 at 6:03 am

      I remember running in to one of my high school math teachers when I was in college. He said he figured that time seemed to speed up because each day of life becomes an incrementally smaller portion of total life lived to date. I’ve been thinking about that a lot these last few days, because I genuinely have no idea where this year went. Anthony said something about it being a year since something had happened, prompting me to wave him off and say, “No, that was two or three months” . . . before realizing he was right! It’s a good reminder to cherish each of these fleeting moments.

  6. Gede Prama
    December 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Thank you very much for following the blog, I really look forward to reading your posts and happy new year 2014. Gede Prama 🙂

  1. December 7, 2014 at 7:48 pm

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