Timing is everything

Saguaro cactus and a carpet of yellow, Mexican poppies.

Saguaro cactus and a carpet of yellow, Mexican poppies.

With so many things in life, timing matters. In my experience, that’s never more true than when it comes to seeing the wonders of nature. My travels this week have brought me to the desert southwest and Phoenix, Arizona.

I’ve enjoyed Arizona’s deserts many times over the years, visiting family and friends or on business. But in all these years, I’ve never seen the desert in bloom. That is both a matter of good timing and the right weather. This week my timing was spot on.

Desert blooms, Lake Pleasant, Arizona

The yellow overpowered the more subtle, yet equally beautiful, lilac and purple blooms.

Last week it snowed in Arizona, even in Phoenix. This week the desert took advantage of that moisture added to earlier rains to put out a spectacular display of color. Sweeps of yellow Mexican poppies; delicate spires of purple flowers that looked to be in the Lobelia family, tiny lilac colored stars.

Yesterday, my friend Carol and I hiked near Lake Pleasant, though hiking is somewhat of a misnomer for our walk, which was constantly interrupted by my exclamations about how spectacular the flowers were and the innumerable stops to take pictures.

Desert booms, saguaro cactus, Lake Pleasant, Arizona

A carpet of flowers covered the desert floor.

As an Iowa girl, I’m very fond of green, but the desert has its own beauty. And never more so than when the flowers bloom.

Have you seen the desert in bloom? Have you experienced a moment of very good timing? Please take a moment and share your story.

Comments

  1. Hi Carol,

    I’m not much of a desert dweller but your photos look wonderful. Isn’t it interesting how the rain brings the plants to life? It sounds like you had a wonderful time and your “hike” sounds a lot like the kind I take with camera in hand.

    • Water makes all the difference, Grace. The seeds must always be there waiting for the right moment, but flowers are not a sure thing every spring as they are in Iowa. It’s been a fun time.

  2. Beautiful photos! If only we could plan the exact time to be there on purpose … Phoenix didn’t look anything like that when we were there in late June last year.

    I was raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico, surrounded by pine forest. We raised our family in the central Washington desert where I constantly longed for the scent of fresh pine, the sound of breeze swishng through needled boughs, the crunch of rusty needles underfoot and the grand vista of slopes above town.

    About fifteen years after moving there, I drove up to Penticton, British Columbia in September with our 11-year-old son. The Okanogan Valley around there is lightly forested with pine, and I was thrilled by the resemblance to “home.” The late summer had been unusually rainy, and as we drove down the Columbia River toward home, the landscape was lushly green, strewn with several shades of blooming flowers that know rainy opportunities, whatever month they occur. Suddenly I was stunned to hear my son sigh with contentment and say, “It sure is good to get back down to the desert!” Suddenly I realized that he had grown up in the desert. To him, that’s home and he still feels about the desert the way I do about the mountains.

    That was timing, pure and simple, and without that fleeting insight, I would probably not have as much appreciation for the desert as I developed that day.

  3. You have to make some effort to discover some of the more unique desert beauties; they are not always in easy to find locations. Along the roadsides you will find many wildflowers, but off the beaten track you can find some of the most spectacular landscapes and desert blooms.

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      I can’t even begin to imagine what might be hidden off the beaten track, Isabelle. I am so rarely in the desert and when I am, it is often for short times so we visit the expected places. I’d love to spend a month or more in a stretch so I could really explore. Do you have a favorite place?

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