Wildflowers in Los Angeles

I’ve decided it’s time to bare my soul, come clean, and admit it:

I don’t like hiking.

I can hear the collective groan. What?? Before you get all judgmental and start leaving nasty comments about how I’m just lazy (which I am), let me make my case:

First of all, I didn’t say I don’t like being out in nature, communing with trees and leaves and flowers and the earth from which I came. I said I don’t like what it takes to get there. Question: what is so great about walking uphill? Yes, yes, I know, it’ called exercising. Well, that’s all fine and good, but, hello, I do exercise. I do Kundalini yoga, which is hard and can be quite aerobic, four times a week, and I’m toned and fit. I just don’t like climbing hills. If I have to hike, I’d rather it be on flat surfaces, thank you. But my husband Pascal, an avid hiker, really enjoys the steep hikes, and, when he manages to convince me to join him, I don’t want to be a spoilsport and insist on easy hikes. So I grin and bear it, just like in this picture. Does that look like a real smile to you?

The other thing I really dislike is sweating. You sweat a lot when you hike, especially when you’re going uphill. Ugh. Sweating is one of my least favorite things, which is why, I’m sure, God, in her infinite kindness and compassion, decided to grant me hot flashes for the last 20 years. Why did she do that? God hates me, that’s why. But I’m an otherwise healthy, vibrant, happy person surrounded by good friends and supportive family, so God must love me too. I just need to convince her to give the flashing a break, would you please? Anyway, I digress. Back to hiking.

So a couple of weeks ago when all that hoopla was happening around the super bloom out here in California, Pascal was absolutely adamant that we go see the wildflowers, and I admit to wanting to see them too; and the flowers did not disappoint. I mean, just look at this yellow-carpeted stretch of the 101 Freeway up around the Calabasas area. My goodness! It was really great seeing them from the comfort of the car!

And then into Point Mugu State Park, just above Malibu we went to get up close and personal with the wildflowers, walking among them — more like huffing and puffing, actually — and taking in big gulps of fresh air and vast blue sky, and being grateful to be alive. After an hour of all this glory, just as I was thinking I’d seen enough yellow flowers to last me three or four years, Pascal said, “How about we ask our friends in Anaheim if we can spend the night sometime this week so we can go see the bloom in Anza-Borrego? It’s going to be amazing!” Um, it took me a while to digest this request, and after thinking about it for about 15 minutes, I just decided the best response was to ignore him altogether. Thank goodness he did not bring it up again. See, God does love me. Just not enough. Because after another 15 minutes, ever mindful of my meager tolerance levels for long and challenging hikes, Pascal asked if I wanted to turn around and trace our steps back to the car, or whether I wanted to keep going. Not wanting to be a wimp, and ruin his fun, I said we should keep going. God, why did I say that? Maybe I just hate myself! So keep going we did, watching — me, open-mouthed — as some people whizzed by us as they cycled uphill (I swear, there are some crazy looney tunes in these here parts). Two hours later, even though we had taken plenty of rest stops to smell the flowers, I literally limped back to the car. The reason being, I guess, that I don’t hike often enough! But really, enough is enough.

I know that Pascal will be kind of sad to read this, so why am I putting this out here for the world — and him — to see? Because I feel compelled to tell the truth. I was talking to a friend the other day, who thinks Trump isn’t all that bad. At one point, as he admitted to some of the President’s negatives, he said, “I mean he probably lies three times a day.” But he was smiling when he said it. He was amused by the phenomenon. Lying has become quite acceptable nowadays, but it leaves me aghast. I once had a boyfriend, who was a chronic liar, and it made for some very strange, hairy and dysfunctional situations sometimes, just like the times we’re living right now. So, really, me talking about disliking hiking is just a bizarre reaction to this state of affairs. If lies are supposed to be OK now, I‘m doing my part by telling the truth, even in the tiniest way. Maybe. Hopefully. Probably?

In any case, just to reiterate, I LOVE NATURE, okay? I just don’t want to toil and struggle to enjoy it. Why should I when there’s this kind of thing going on in my own backyard? This is one of Pascal’s sculptures (“Marching Man”) being overtaken by a very enthusiastic passionflower vine!

“Marching Man” by Pascal Giacomini
Detail, “Marching Man” by Pascal Giacomini

I swear, I should charge $20 for folks to come and take in this fantastic sight! Seeing it makes you smile. You wouldn’t have to work very hard to get here, people. Just hop in your car, park outside the house, hand over your cash, and bask in the joy and wonder of the earth’s creativity at work. No sweating required.

Carine is the author of six fiction and nonfiction books, and a longtime contributor to Huffpost, writing on issues of lifestyle, the arts, politics, and more.