Saturday, March 14, 2009
Where have all the flowers gone?
Today is the annual Franklin Mountains Poppies Celebration. It's that time of year when the wild poppies bloom here in the desert on the slopes of the Franklins. While we live in a very suburbanized area, we are extremely fortunate to be only three blocks away from this open desert. That's because there exists unexploded army ordinance from the mid-20th century beneath this beauty, once an artillery practice area.
And this is the wonderful advantage of that: Before drooling developers can litter the mountainsides with more of their endless strip mall sprawl like that on our valley's floor, the government must first clear the land of hazardous explosives which could prove extremely costly. Wow, could it be -- there actually exists an advantage to not cleaning up a waste site?
Thursday my editor Sam sent me on assignment to shoot some photos as preview for this weekend's annual poppy celebration. Sam said he'd tag along, help me select good shots. (I suspect Sam had ulterior motives, i.e., it was an excuse for a walk.)
As you can see, the poppies are a no-show. One of my faults is always trying to reason why these things happen. I wondered if the poppy-less landscape might be some kind of flora protest at the fact we're still at war, escalating our losing efforts in the "Stans", Afghani and Paki. I concluded that's probably unlikely as the mountain slopes of 2005 occurred at a time when we were successfully blowing the shit out of Iraq and Iraqis.
Perhaps it's the dismal economy with the resulting dire implications for an empire collapsing in on itself, but I doubt that too.
I've concluded this year's poppy-less slopes are most likely from lack of rain and that most poppy seeds have decided to take this year off. I don't think Nature really gives a damn what the hell we humans do.
So when Sam and I returned home, I took this picture of a lone poppy that had sprouted through a crack in our sidewalk. I suddenly had a new appreciation for this year's crop, such that as I was trimming out front later, I didn't have the heart to mow down this "weed."