At the corner of Oak and Steiner there is a small, overgrown patch of garden. It’s unkempt and currently full of very green grass. The other day I noticed a handful of California Poppies in bloom. Nothing more signifies spring in California than the arrival of our state flower. They start turning up everywhere this time of the year. On a good wet year like this, Antelope Valley is one of the best places for the full on fields of poppies experience. But closer by I always like to get out to Mount Diablo in the spring. The trick is to go around the mountain to Clayton and come in on the east side by Mitchell Canyon. From there it’s a long hike to the top if you like. There is no reason to climb if you don’t want to. The best parts are the meadows of poppies and wildflowers on that side of the state park. That is a hike that will take you into the world that inspired Arthur and Lucia Mathews. It’s California Poppies in a pre-subdivision California.