Sometimes, on busy days in busy weeks, when there’s too much to do and too much bad news, it’s soothing to just pull off the road and take a moment to look at the sky.

Focus first on the large, cottony clouds as they drift across the blue background, reshaping themselves into new forms.    Follow the path of the hawk soaring between Earth and sky, then let your gaze drift downward to absorb the lush swaths of color.


The color of the day here is scarlet.

On the prairie sections around here, Indian Paint Brush, (Castilleja coccinea,) is in full bloom.  The dramatic splashes of scarlet dot the landscape in some places and dominate it in others.  This year’s bloom is the most generous display of Indian Paintbrush in the years I’ve been in this area.


I’m sometimes tempted to gather a bouquet to bring home with me, but I never do.  I’d rather let those blooms go to seed so that patch of prairie flowers can spread and thrive.   Later in the season, there will be other wildflowers from other places to fill my vases.  For now, I’m content to let these stay on the hillside and brighten the day of other passersby.