Heat brought an early spring to the deserts rain fed flowers. These images begin in the Sonoran desert in Arizona, where a storm that offered two inches of rain left behind a wake of lushness and plumped up cactus. They progress to the Anza Borrego desert where unseasonable high temperatures pushed spring bloom to center stage. As I traveled northward, the almond trees were in full blossom in Northern California.
The most insatiable wildfire in Washington state history began consuming my homeland over a month ago: the beautiful Methow Valley, in the Eastern foothills of the North Cascades. This fire has been widespread and unpredictable in its capriciousness. I know so many who have lost their homes. In our hope we imagine it is winding it’s thirsty way down. It seems there is little left to burn, yet more fires have erupted – the offspring of thunderstorms. How we need the rain. How we fear the lightening.
On it’s heels, between fires, there have been powerful winds, blowing down huge old remaining trees, blowing the ashy land into a fog bank of dust that approaches so strangely, like the legendary desert dust storms. One of my girlfriends homes survived a fire that consumed her neighborhood, only to have a tree fall through her daughters bedroom while their family was huddling safely in the basement.
Yet we still have much to be grateful for.
A reprieve came late last week, on the wings of clouds. Substantial life giving rain. The roasted and parched earth could not entirely absorb it all in it’s hydrophobic state. Charcoal flash floods washed down many canyons
Only a handful of days later there is the springing of new growth. At the base of blackened aspens future trees are bursting forth. Next spring the grasses will be thick and lush and the wildflowers memorable, new Ponderosa pine seeds sprouting now freed from their cones by the fire. There will be ample morel mushrooms to feed the entire region. We will rebuild. The community will shift, will strengthen. We will thrive once again in the land of milk and honey.