Well we got one good day of rain. Since then I have watched the clouds drop rain everywhere but here. Some see the desert as a place of beauty, some as a place of desolation, I simply sit in wonder at its resilience. We have had very little moisture. First the winter snows were nearly nonexistent. Then we had no spring rains, and now the monsoon moisture seems to be everywhere but here. Yet with only one day of rain, in two days time already there is a soft green hue everywhere I look. It is almost imperceptible yet unmistakably there. Only the hardiest of weeds have dared to spread their leaves thus far, and they have sprouted the barest of blossoms. These are for the most part the most obnoxious of plants with thorns to protect them from the browsers who would otherwise eat them to the ground. There is little else for them to forage on. What little grasses there are, are dried, and brown with little nutrition. Even the scrub oak, and the gourd plants have been nibbled at when they would otherwise remain unscathed. One day’s rain breathes life once again in the desert.
It would always amaze me as a child to watch the desert come to life after a brief summer’s rain. Some years the fields would fill with poppies of lavender, pink, and white, or the bright red orange of the Mexican poppy. There would be white, and purple thistle, or orange, lavender, pink and blue flowers of varieties I have never known the names of. Then there were always the cactus flowers with their brilliant waxy flowers that seemed too bright to be real. I miss the cactus flowers. We have some cholla but very little, and seldom do I catch them in bloom. We have some stunted pancake cactus, but never have I seen a blossom on them. They barely break the surface of the ground. We have yellow sunflowers that can grow as tall as a man. The first year here we were shocked to find our arena a field of sunflowers so thick, and tall the horses could barely walk through them. We bought a new riding mower. We sold the one we had in CA, which was just as well as it would never have stood up to the weeds we have here. Our new one is much bigger.
Such a fragile yet hardy land is the desert. How life manages to survive here is a miracle of evolution. Plants can remain dormant for years in times of drought, and then when the rain does fall it is as rich, and full of life as the densest rain forest. There is a flurry of activity as suddenly little red anthills pop up everywhere. All kinds creepy crawlers can be seen, and the dragonflies suddenly appear. The hummingbirds are now flying everywhere, dive bombing each other as they stake out their territories. Bull snakes are out, and about as are lizards, and horny toads. Soon I will have to take out that mower we bought once again, and I will be hard put to keep up with the new growth, that is provided we get more than one rain. Even if we don’t, even if there is little this year, the desert will wait. It will wait for another year to blossom, another year to grow thick with life. We can learn much from the desert. We can learn patience, and resilience, and hope for the day when life giving rains are heavy once again, and the desert of our lives can blossom with new life, new growth, and a serene beauty that comes only because we have endured the harshest of times.