My daughter and I were looking out over the patchwork landscape of the California high desert, green and gold and orange…all quickly turning brown in the hot early spring.
“One thing just rolls into the next,” she said, observing the way the colors and textures shifted from one slope to the next, with no clear lines between one section and another. “I think it’s a metaphor for life.”
“Look,” I said. “A lizard just ran across the path.”
“I think that’s a metaphor for life, too.”
She’s just fourteen.
There are probably a lot of metaphors that can be drawn from California’s desert landscape. The persistence of life, and even beauty, under such inhospitable conditions.
How potential can lie dormant through the harshest seasons, to be awoken with the merest sprinkle of encouragement.
That, from a distance, something can look barren and empty, but getting up close reveals a remarkable diversity of life and beauty.
That the things we value most are often the most fleeting.
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve lies about an hour north of Los Angeles, near the city of Lancaster. For us, it’s a two hour trek, and one I wish we’d taken a couple weeks earlier in the season. Because of the severe, ongoing drought, the California wildflower bloom has been sparse the past few years, but this winter there was just enough rain that hopes were high, and early signs indicated a bountiful crop of orange poppies, bright yellow goldfields, purple lupine, and more.
Unfortunately, high winds and heat played havoc on the flowers, and by the time we were there in late March there were no rolling carpets of color like you might find in photos from other years, if you do an image search for the poppy preserve.
But it was still beautiful, just more subtly beautiful than expected.
April 22, 2015