Like the water foaming behind a speeding motorboat, the wildflowers were blooming in our wake. In the days following our departures, the abundant winter rains that had fallen in California were producing desert super blooms. We had observed the early days of the flowering while still in Anza Borrego, but knew that the best was yet to come. Joshua Tree was expecting a good crop also, but sitting at much higher elevations would delay the bloom another week or more. And we would be long gone. Alas . . . so close . . . and yet so far. Another good example of timing being everything.
Instead, we would be confronted by the headlines making big stories in places we had been . . . the event got great media coverage—on TV, in newspapers, on our phones. It was the talk of the entire Southwest.
If any solace was to be found it was the byline to this news. Of course, it made good sense! I could see exactly the scenario unfolding.
And therein lies the downside. Maybe a weak one, nevertheless an accurate one. Memories of congo lines of people, marching like ants in single file up a mountainside trail to wildflower meadows. Hordes of people tramping through fields of luscious flowers is not a pretty sight. In fact, some might view it as a turn-off. And it’s a sight I’ll willingly pass by. Of course, in this case, I really had no choice.
Yet there was some redemption to my story. All was not lost, it eventually turned out. In its own small way we did have a modicum of good fortune. It wasn’t huge, but it was wide-spread; maybe not profuse, but certainly it could hold its own. Not a remote place, to be sure, but on our route nevertheless. And the best part of all , , , without a doubt . . . I had it ALL TO MYSELF! Just the way I like it.
We were departing Joshua Tree and heading to lower elevations. I had just settled back, switched on the radio, prepared for a drive of several hours. It was the color in the otherwise monochrome landscape that first caught our attention, alerting us to a distinctive change of scenery. What was that we just passed by? it wasn’t completely registering until . . . just wait . . . we were passing more . . . both sides of the road . . . clumps of colorful flowers dispersed over the land! Then more—stretches of flowers—fields of flowers. No kidding—we had come upon some microcosm of a super bloom of our own! Just outside the entrance to the park. OH HAPPY DAY!!!
I didn’t need to exclaim “Pull over!” He already was. Then he settled back, opened a book, turning to simply say “Have at it.” I was already grabbing my gear.
Seventh heaven. Complete bliss. It wasn’t endless acres, but it was enough. And it was mine. All mine. For this moment in time, I had these blooming masses to myself. And therein lies the true rapture.
Lupines, poppies, primrose, chia, sunflowers, desert dandelions and sunflowers. Bursts of color in an otherwise drab and colorless landscape. Not much to work with . . . no outstanding landmarks . . . just dry, rocky slopes enveloping this collage of color. Yet still, there was wonder and beauty.
Undoubtedly I missed the spectacular, popular hot spots. Obviously I didn’t miss the crowds. But when the day was done and this trip wrapped up, at least I can say I caught a fragment of Super Bloom 2017. In a little corner of Joshua Tree.
Making the most of what is given,
Melinda & Chris