Monday, March 15, 2010

The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring

I've told you before about the Anza-Borrego Desert. It's a place BP and I love (we spent part of our honeymoon there), treasuring its beauty and the myriad forms of life that figure out how to survive there.

Generally, California is only green for the month of March. Somehow, the green color softens the hills. This has been a wet winter for Southern California (San Diego is lucky to see 5 inches of rain a year). And, the storms have been spread out, meaning the rain that made it out to the desert did not fall all at once, but more dispersed. This has made it an excellent year for wildflowers, and I'm sure the calls to the Anza Borrego Wildflower Hotline have been legion. (This is the Southern Californian equivalent to New England Leaf-Peepers.)

So, along with everyone else in San Diego, we headed to Borrego this weekend, taking our trusty Honda along rough dirt roads and fishtailing through sandy washes. We were certainly rewarded, with veritable carpets of flowers, scumbled as if by a painter's hand in patches on the desert floor. Even in the stark badlands, a few brave blooms could be found.

There were Arizona lupine, and sand verbena; brown-throated primrose, and desert dandelions. There were odd lilies and tiny magenta flowers wedged into the cracks of rocks. Even the tar-smelling creosote boasted small yellow flowers. And the great spindle ocotillo with red flowers at the tips of their branches, like candles. Insects and birds are busy, and we saw an enormous (ca. 4") caterpillar urgently eating its way through one bush.

Many flowers are still to come including indigo bush, desert lavendar, and cacti like the various cholla. It's early yet and with the passing weeks the bloom will move up the mountain, until the hills have a final surge of color, then return to their drab golden brown for the next 10 months.

Update: This is for Margaret. This caterpillar is about 4.5" long--you could hear him chomping. His tail has spikes. I bet he makes a fearsome moth. Click on this (or any pictures) for a bigger view.


it's margaret said...

Thank you. Been hankering....

Had someone here tell me that they once went to see the 'desert in bloom.' They were terribly disappointed, they said. I said they needed to go back on August 15. Then they would know how amazing and stunning it is.

Any bug tales? --I mean, good bloom years usually bring on the caterpillars or bugs or something....

We once saw a 'squall' of caterpillars... I thought a bale of hay had fallen on the road.... but, no.

IT said...

Hi Margaret,
You are right, people who don't know, wonder what the fuss is about. But what I love about the desert is that there is always plenty of life, if you just look for it....or listen. I often smile secret smiles to myself flying into SoCal from the east, listening to people exclaim at the bleak brown-ness below the airplane. They mistakenly think it's empty, not know of the smell of the creosote bush when you brush past, or the desert lavender. Or the hard-working birds, or industrious kangaroo mice, the monstrous snakes with rattles like water-sprinklers. And of course the insects, hoardes of ants, tiny scorpions, and the like.

just for you I added a picture of an enormous spiked caterpillar that we saw.

it's margaret said...


dr.primrose said...

Here's a shocker from L.A. - Gay Parents or Death? Famed Latino Singer Picks Death.


She is a stout Mexican rancheras singer who belts out tales of being dumped and encourages women to stand up for themselves.

Now Paquita la del Barrio, who has a big Los Angeles fan base, is standing against same-sex adoption, saying, "I'd rather see a kid die."

The 62-year-old singer told Escandalo TV that, "It's not in my taste that a poor creature should be adopted by them."

The shocked reporter asked her which would she prefer: That a child die of hunger in the streets and lonely, or two human beings give him love and food?

Paquita responded: "That he die."

She explained it's better if the child dies instead of that "lifestyle."

JCF said...

[That's REVOLTING, dr.p.!]

On-topic: here in Michigan, our daffodils and tulips have popped above ground, and our crocuses are blooming. It was 60 degrees today: Woo Hoo! :-D

dr.primrose said...

Consent process complete for Bishop-elect Mary Glasspool

Diocese receives confirmation from Presiding Bishop's Office; statements follow in English and Spanish

[The Episcopal News, Los Angeles, March 17, 2010] - The Diocese of Los Angeles received word from the Presiding Bishop's Office on March 17 of completion of the wider church's consent process to the Dec. 5, 2009 election of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The consent process to the Dec. 4 election of the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce as Bishop Suffragan was completed earlier, on Feb. 17. [A report in further detail will follow this bulletin.]

Following are statements from Bishop J. Jon Bruno, and Bishops Suffragan-elect Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Douglas Glasspool.

From the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bishop Bruno

"I give thanks for the Standing Committees and Bishops who have consented to the elections of Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Douglas Glasspool as bishops suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles.
"The committee members and bishops have offered their consents in prayerful discernment and by doing so have joined the Diocese of Los Angeles in recognizing and affirming the many gifts and skills of these highly qualified and experienced clerics.

"Both Bishops-elect Bruce and Glasspool have been clear in stating that their new ministries will be focused on the work of the Diocese of Los Angeles as a priority, and the clergy and laity of this Diocese are eager to begin new collaboration with them.

"These historic elections bring the first women to the episcopate in the Diocese of Los Angeles. I give thanks for this, and that the Standing Committees and Bishops have demonstrated through their consents that the Episcopal Church, by canon, creates no barrier for ministry on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, among other factors."

From Bishop-elect Diane Jardine Bruce:

"I am excited about working with both Bishop Jon and Mary as we move forward in mission and ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Receiving the consents from the Bishops and Standing Committees has been, again, humbling for me. As we begin with this new team, I am encouraged by the support I have received from Bishop Jon and Mary and from clergy and laity throughout the Diocese. Rooted in prayer, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I pray we all grow and flourish in Christ's love."

From Bishop-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool:

"It is a privilege to serve in a Church gathered around the life, ministry, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our Church takes seriously its leadership, and so engages in a process whereby the lay and clerical members of Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church, as well as bishops from each of its dioceses, have the opportunity through prayer and discernment, to confirm the appropriateness of the election to leadership of each bishop. Thus, I am overjoyed that a majority of Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction have given their consent to the elections of both Bishops Suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

"I am profoundly grateful for the many people - in Los Angeles, in Maryland, and around the world - who have given their prayers, love, and support during this time of discernment. I am also aware that not everyone rejoices in this election and consent, and will work, pray, and continue to extend my own hands and heart to bridge those gaps, and strengthen the bonds of affection among all people, in the Name of Jesus Christ. I am so very blessed to be working with Bishop Jon, Bishop-elect Diane, and the incredible people of the Diocese of Los Angeles; and I offer deep gratitude, as well, to Bishops Chester Talton and Sergio Carranza, whose Christ-centered leadership have moved the Church closer to God's Reign on earth."

JCF said...

Nevermind Lent: Alleluia! O Happy, Happy Day! :-D

IT said...

And can we now, finally be happy that LA has two FABULOUS new bishops who are both EMINENTLY qualified for this post and will serve their diocese with distinction. Whom they sleep with is COMPLETELY irrelevant.


WTG, Bishops!

yes I admit I am (very pleasantly) surprised!

JCF said...


It's not "Well, Thank God" . . . so what is it? ;-/

IT said...

Way To Go.