Growing up in California’s desert led me to be acutely attuned to rain patterns. Rain would come after Thanksgiving, lightly until Christmas. January would be sunny for awhile, and the hillsides became bright green with new growth. Then rains would return and pour into March. June gloom would make a brief visit with a little rain.
This year is the first time in fifteen years that the weather feels like it used to. The hills have brightened and I encounter subtle, familiar smells in the chaparral. The desert has also come to life, and I couldn’t let myself pass up this super bloom. YOLO!
I still regret not going to the Death Valley super bloom in 2005. So this time, avoiding some severe FOMO. And it was very much worth it.
The most salient aspect of the super bloom isn’t the colors or flowers. It’s opening the car door and being smothered with what smells like creamy lotus seeds. Thick and sweet but not saccharine. The desert doesn’t produce sharp, sappy scents. Rather, it produces languid, nuanced, yet rich smells that elicit a gentle intoxication.
I felt thrilled by the sights, smells, and sounds of desert life activated by the rain. I hope we’ll see this rain again in predictable, regular intervals. May these blooms remind us of the beauty that water brings and life it gives. We shouldn’t make water so rare and precious such that life is a surprise when it should be the norm.