It’s springtime in the desert. After two months on the road, we finally hit Spring and began seeing the desert bloom. Edward Abbey writes of cactus as having the most beautiful buds of all: “The true distinction of these flowers, I feel, is found in the contrast between the blossom and the plant which produces it. The cactus of the desert is a small, grubby, obscure and humble vegetable associated with cattle dung and overgrazing, interesting only when you tangle with it in the wrong way. Yet from this nest of thorns, this snare of hooks and fiery spines, is born once each year a splendid flower. It is unpluckable and except to an insect almost unapproachable, yet soft, lovely, sweet, desirable, exemplifying better than the rose among thorns the unity of opposites.”I heartily agree. There’s something so exquisite and unexpected about seeing a cluster of near translucent pink petals erupt from between the long thorns of a prickly pear cactus, or the delicate-yet-shockingly magenta blooms nestled among the spiky barrel cactus.
Perhaps part of it is just having become accustomed to the olive and earth tones of a winter desert bereft of colors and the sudden onset of such vivid colors is a shock to our eyes. It brings the desert to life, gives the winds something to play with, the air feels kinder, and the sun shines with a higher purpose.
All that being said, the profusion of any flowers in the arid deserts is a sight to behold. …Moreover I’m looking forward to heading East, where the wildflowers will be in bloom with grass growing wet and green and the trees budding.