All tagged Karin Uphoff

Words On Wellness: Walking

Summer days of expansive brightness, beckon us to slip out the door and enjoy time in nature.  Walking on the uneven ground of dirt trails, sandy beaches and grassy meadows is a healthy way to balance our brains and bodies.  Human feet have millions of fast-acting touch receptors, which transmit important information to the brain at a rate of 175 messages per second.

Words on Wellness: Lilac

The beauty of a jewel-toned sea and clear spring skies is accentuated by the purple-blue blossoms of California lilac.  Not a true lilac, Ceanothus goes by other common names like Tick bush, Deerbrush, Red root and Blue blossom, yet its small dark-green leathery leaves and clumps of tiny aromatic flowers are hallmark of this California native.

     Zowie!  Here comes that enlivening coastal spring wind - some days frigid and others warm – the gift of the season.  April is a time of aspiration – both definitions apply: to draw a breath and the hope or ambition of achieving something.  You can stand on the edge of the headlands watching whale trails, while taking deep breaths to clear out your lungs in an act of spring cleansing.  The inside of your lungs look essentially like the reflection of a large tree in still water.  The little avioli air sacs (the ‘leaves’) are thin-skinned, inflatable and infused with tiny one-celled thick capillaries that are busy exchanging the spent contents of your out-breath with a newly oxygenated in-breath.  The surface area of these sacs is about a big as a tennis court – a vast frontier for securing our greatest physiological need, oxygen. 

     “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb”, a proverb that endures as a brain whisper for many of us as we enter this month.  Some other March sayings include: A dry March and a wet May fills barns and bays with corn and hay or March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers (which seems to hold true on the coast).

     The weather along this stretch of California is moist, mild and bright enough for planting tender greens and Southeast Asian ornamentals subject to frost-damage..  Gardeners my shudder when frost occurs along the coast, but the first cold snap is a boon for birds who have been waiting for tough-fibered edible berries to finally succumb into softness.  Now robins and thrushes are happily flocking to Cotoneaster, toyon and rose bushes to chow down on the more succulent and slightly sweet fruits – what joy!

Words On Wellness: Winter on the Coast, Red Alder

January is a month that embodies the true starkness of winter on the coast.  While it may be sunny, much native foliage, has tucked its juiciness under the soil.  This natural inclination towards vegetative slumber when the sun draws a low arc across the sky, is an adaptation to rest and repair.  It may look like nothing much is going on for the red alder. . . .