I’m normally a good driver—cautious, defensive, eyes on the road—won’t even turn to make eye contact with a chatty friend in the passenger seat. I've never even had a traffic ticket (might be a bit of luck involved there.) That said, I recently almost veered onto the shoulder of a main road. Just could not keep my eyes glued to the road ahead when both the median and the wide shoulders were alive with a dramatic show of wildflower blooms--intoxicating and distracting.
For the past few weeks, our normally brownish desert landscape has been blanketed by fresh shades of green and a kaleidoscope colors. Penstemons, spiking tall, are showing off with blooms in three glamorous shades of pink. The globe mallows have morphed into bushes bearing striking orange blossoms with a few, rare, white bloomers scattered here and there for fun. The ubiquitous brittle bushes are massed with yellow, daisy-like flowers, and blue lupines rise to greet the sun, their spikes poufed out with a proud displays of blooms. Our short-lived Spring has sprung.
2023 is being deemed a ‘super bloom' year. Wildflowers are abundant everywhere from roadsides to stretches of natural desert (as in not destroyed by the developers), to neighbors’ front yards and hiking areas. And yes, D and I succumbed to the media hysteria and joined the masses lined up to get into Picacho Peak State Park, famous for its spectacular showing of golden poppies. Along the lines of “I should have known better” combined with being over-eager, I jumped out of the car with my camera, but without a hat, sunglasses, or sunscreen. And yes, I paid the price, big time. And no, there aren't any pictures of my red, swollen, sunburned face. BUT, I did manage to get some great poppy shots.
I am a self-confessed plant junkie. In my backyard, there is close to no-such-thing as a weed. If the plant is green and it blooms, it stays. I always step carefully, even making sure not to drag the heavy garden hose across the new globe mallows and miscellaneous wild bloomers. I’m thrilled to find them emerging from the fine pea gravel that covers the area are we keep “open” (by spousal decree.)
I wonder, sometimes, if I am creatively diverse or simply unable to focus on any one area. (I can hear you answering one for me!) I seem to be constantly juggling to make time for my three main passions: plants/gardening, writing/reading, and dance. To be honest, I should throw photography into that mix as well. I jump on and off the creativity carousel at a dizzying pace, sometimes riding the writing horse, sometimes jumping onto the platform to snag the dancing horse, but too often I’m falling flat on my face trying to do/ride everything all at once.
In the Spring, however, my focus narrows. When the air is coolish but tinged with bud-opening warmth, and the scent of citrus blossoms permeate absolutely every pore, writing falls off the map. Driving out to the dance studio is doable, but I simply can’t station myself in front of my desktop to force even a semblance of concentration to write. Out the door I go, camera or phone in hand. Capturing each and every new bloom becomes an obsession.
As I type these words, I’m glancing out the window, which is right behind my monitor. I see tall penstemons peering over the top of the snapdragons, and holy smoke, it looks like I finally have an Iris blooming. I do love sharing with all of you, but my camera is sitting right here, and it’s calling to me, so….