As many of you know, I fell ill in February. An unexpected bowel obstruction put me in the hospital for twenty days. There are two sides to trauma: physical and emotional. For me, the emotional part has always been the hardest.

I had a kidney transplant on April 30, 2014, after a long bout of illness, years. During that time, my life was on hold. I did what I could, but it wasn’t much. Mostly, I watched those around me live while I remained in this awkward purgatory-like state.

The transplant did not cure my chronic kidney disease, but it gave me my life back. I have been able to do a whole lot more since the surgery. I have inched my way back out in the world trying hard to keep my head above water and live life to the fullest. It hasn’t been easy, each day has brought new challenges, and I hold dear the progress I’ve made. So, the bowel obstruction was a devastating setback. Scars were reopened, both literally and figuratively.

When I got out of the hospital, I admit, I was depressed. I didn’t want to start over, again. Sometimes, it feels as though I am running laps around a track.

Upon my release from the hospital towards the end of February, I laid low to physically recover. As I did, I wondered how I was going to rebound from this. I was at a loss. So, I focused on finding a small first step to get me out of the house. It took a while, but then I began seeing the most beautiful images online.

Inspiration is mysterious, and, at times, comes from strange places. The photos displayed the California poppy and other gorgeous wildflowers exploding like fireworks all over the place. This got my attention, but it did something else, too. The flowers inspired me to stop “liking” and go see them for myself. Then I realized the mission to find a first step had been accomplished. It was a small win, but I’ll take what I can get.

It turns out I wasn’t the only one inspired by the flowers. Spring in California had by now garnered a new name – The California Super Bloom. Before I went out, I did some research to find out why we were experiencing such a Super Bloom.

California’s unique winter was the cause. We saw an uncharacteristic amount of rainfall this winter which gave our parched landscape a good soaking. In fact, there was so much water it nearly ended our long bought of drought. The extra water also allowed a lot of dormant wildflower seeds to come alive, thus paving the way for a very Super Bloom. Who knew such beauty was lying in wait?

I became so enthralled with the experience that I ended up visiting three separate locations. Still recovering from major surgery and a long hospital stay, I couldn’t hike to the best vantage points. But, I did my best and enjoyed every minute of it.

Here’s a sampling of my excursions:

Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore – March 10, 2017
Chino Hills State Park – March 20, 2017
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve – April 1, 2017