This spring’s super bloom is unprecedented. Every workday when I went to the company’s kitchen for water, I would spare a moment standing in front of the big window, looking at the mountains afar, to relish at the rare spring color, its gradual changes, from green, to mixture of green and yellow when large swaths of mustard flowers erupting, to its final suffusion of riotous yellow carpeting all over the tops. But then the green color receded, signaling that the grass must be dying from the monthlong draught and sunlight. With the sheer yellow color alone, I know the spring is coming to its end.
So last Saturday I urged someone to hike with me again, to a valley that was extravagant with mustard flowers in 2017. When we set our foot on the zigzag trails and climbed upward, the scene was just as spectacular as expected. The mustard flowers, flanking and dancing on both sides of trails, were taller than a man’s height. Their abundance made the once-wide and barren trails narrow and bushy. As we enjoyed the view along the way, a yellowish terrifying snake came to our sight. I shuddered in horror, shrieking uncontrollably as it wriggled its body among the bushes. While he, with his cell phone, approached closer for a picture, telling me in a calm voice that it was a non-poisonous California King or something. The snake soon slithered away, but my terror lingered. He took the lead, hiked in the front, to clear the path, assumingly. Walking a few hundred yards farther, I spot something moving again. I stepped back and screamed out loud. He turned his back, and there a few steps away lurked another one in the middle of the trail that he just passed by. He picked up a long stick, poked at the snake, and beckoned me to come along as the snake was out of sight. By then my fear mounted to such a tension that I decided to turn back, alone. None of the beautiful scenes would outweigh my psychological fear.
The descent turned out to be scarier. Every step was so intense and nervous, as I gathered all my courage and attention. Then about the same place that the first snake was spotted, I saw it again, at the other side of the road this time. I was momentarily transfixed, not knowing what to do. Luckily three young people were hiking upward towards me. They saw me, heard me, approached the bush, and then said breezily that there was no snake. They continued upward, talking at ease, while I was helpless on my own again. I took a deep breath, collecting myself, and started nervously running down. I purposely stamped my two feet heavily to give warning to any snake ahead, that “I am coming” :). I forced myself to only focus on the trail in the middle. But in my fearful mind, the cracks on the dry road surface by the side of bushes all looked like black snakes. When I finally made it to the open clearing at the foot of the hill, I was relieved it was over.
The next day, the muscle on both my legs was sore, as a result of nervousness I believe. To be strong at any circumstance is not easy, especially when you have to confront your psychological fear alone. Nobody can actually help me but myself.