Everything was golden. The honeyed air was rich and fragrant, sweet with pine and warm earth. The afternoon sunlight filtering through the trees had that mystic quality of springtime, painting everything in vivid color, gilding the greens, the reds, the pinks, the browns, glinting from the gravel and garnets along the jeep trail, sparkling in spiders’ webs, shimmering on the wings of the swallowtails and bees and moths busy drinking the flowers of the golden currant.
The busyness and life of these industrious pollinators was mesmerizing – In and out and around and about they went, back and forth through the golden glow of the currant bush. Moths, like tiny hummingbirds, sipped daintily. Bees bumbled from flower to flower. Swallowtails hung like jeweled pendants from the drooping branches. The lazy droning of the bees blended with the chirruping of crickets and the whir and whiz of grasshoppers in their haphazard flight. Birds twiddled their tunes, trying to keep out of sight in the thick trees and undergrowth.
The path was abundantly scattered with wildflowers. Hardy larkspur violets and longspur violets and low larkspur and wild strawberry, and finally the columbine, the belle of the flowering woods. Fleabane, like an innocent child with smiling face, grew saucily in the sunny trail.
Around one of my favorite bends in the trail stands a grove of aspen and birch, tall and pale under the shadow of a steep pine- and moss-covered hillside. As I came down the hill into that hollow, the trees were a brilliant, luminous green, the smooth leaves winking and twinkling a golden green.
It was a golden afternoon.