We went hiking today up in the East Bay Hills. There are quite a few wildflowers blooming, and the wild blackberries are just starting to come out. If we go back in a couple of weeks, they should be ripe for the eating. The only problem is that the hills are covered in poison oak. Some of the poison oak stands are nearly as big as the hedges that surround some people’s homes. Either the East Bay Regional Park District hasn’t trimmed the poison oak back this year, or it’s been nearly perfect growing conditions. We didn’t see anywhere the number and volume of poison oak last year as we saw today. If we came home without getting some on us, it will be a small miracle. Of course, I wouldn’t have known poison oak from a hole in the wall, if Sarah hadn’t been along. I probably would have reached through some, up to my elbows, to sample some of the blackberries, if she hadn’t reminded me of the generally miserable existence that follows exposure to the noxious weed.