The desert gets a bad rap. It’s brown. It’s dry. It’s ugly. I’ve heard all those assertions from family and friends who apparently enjoy digging themselves out from ten-foot snowdrifts every winter (Perhaps not quite so much after this year?).
But at least it’s green here, they say of the east coast, midwest, northern U.S. I’m not sure that’s such a great argument – especially where I grew up in Pennsylvania, next to Lake Erie. If I recall, it’s only green about three months out of the year. The rest of the time it’s gray. Or raining. Or snowing. Or the grass is yellow and crunchy underfoot. Or the trees look like school girls’ arms – bony, knobby, unruly.
While I love you dearly, PA, I have an allegiance to my desert home of 13 years. It is not brown. It is not ugly. It is not … okay, well, you got me there. It is dry. But now and up through May, things come to life. Every color imaginable starts to sparkle like a mosaic from the milk-chocolaty desert floor. Wildflowers! Yes, even this year, after little rain.
Right now, the lupine is showing off its purple stalks of grandeur. Bright orange Mexican poppies are dancing happily in the wind. The desert marigolds are bursting like little globes of sunshine low to the ground. The fuchsia Parry’s Penstemon is fluttering in front of my French door, the sun setting it aglow each morning.
So, all you doubters … Who says the desert is only brown? Check out some more of Arizona’s spectacular blooms, below (This is only a small sampling of the colors and varieties I captured behind the lens last year and this year. Hundreds [yes, literallly] of wildflower photos slumber in my iPhoto folder – Prickly Poppies, Indian Paintbrush, Primrose, Desert Four O’Clock, Scarlet Gaura, Firewheel Blanketflower. Maybe I’ll save those for another post?):
For Writers: I have to admit that I am always pretty amazed that the dry desert soil can sustain and yield such brightly colored wonder each year. It makes me think of root structures, resilience, fortitude. What keeps you rooted in your writing? A certain routine? The encouragement of others? Your writing community? Your publication dream?
And more importantly, what has helped your writing blossom? What has helped you bloom as a writer? Craft books? Reading the classics? Taking a class? Working with an editor? Please comment below the last photo. [And, P.S. Did you miss the grand prize winner announcement & voter prizes for the "What I Saw" Amateur Photo Contest? Click here.]