Carla Brennan's Blog

Reflections and Photos from The Big Trip and Beyond . .

The Sad Evanescence of Wildflowers (Wildflowers Part II)

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The Sad Evanescence of Wildflowers (Wildflowers Part II)
Photos from April 4-24, 2020

It’s what makes wildflowers so extraordinary: they come unbidden and last only briefly. The spring flowers and vegetation have been robust and exuberant this year. Their wild and carefree example is a welcome antidote to the oppressive constraints of lockdown.

During this pandemic, because I am limited to where I can go, I visit the same places often. I am closely witnessing the successive waves of wildflowers. It is like watching a long play with numerous acts. Some characters have a role in each scene while others exit early. Sometimes new characters are introduced later in the performance. One character who has appeared on stage in every act is the California poppy.

The flowering current, an early blooming shrub, is no longer displaying its large pink flower clusters. Eventually, it will show off it’s purple fruit but for now it has transitioned from something showy, cheerful and bright to an inconspicuous bush.

The giant trillium has now passed on. The leaves are still hugging the forest floor, big and flat, but they are beginning to show the wear and tear of life in the wild. The tall, deep red petals have shriveled and darkened, dislodged by the multi-sided seed pod at its base.

The blue of the sky lupines has been replaced by the purplish tangled mats of winter vetch. Just last week the lupines were everywhere and now they have strangely vanished without a trace. How can this be? I feel abandoned. They were just here, so vibrant and fresh.

The shooting stars have also departed, having only appeared for a brief time, like their namesake. The resplendent carpets of flowers along Russian Ridge have finally peaked. The fading of their previous glory saddens me.

Withered plants, fallen petals, dulled colors. I am heart broken and grieving. My friends are leaving again. We had such a short time together. But it was splendid and joyful for a while.

We must wait another year to meet. I hope they all make it to our next rendezvous. Our date for spring 2021 is already written in my calendar. With droughts, fires and climate change, it’s not a given they will come. My own existence is also not guaranteed.

Does beauty only exist because everything is transient? Is life only meaningful because it is finite? Does our love have to be intricately tied to our capacity for heartbreak?

Yes, it seems so.

This gallery contains 30 photos

Wildflowers are My Solace – Part 1

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Wildflowers are My Solace – Part 1

Mid-March – April 3, 2020

Santa Cruz Mountains and Coast

This is the first installment in my annual spring wildflower post. All photographs were taken before April 3, 2020. A silver lining to the pandemic is more opportunity to witness the gradual arrival of spring.

Spring has burst forth this year with confidence and splendor, oblivious to the human cost of the pandemic. The Santa Cruz Mountains are home to a beautiful array of wildflowers; you just have to know where and when to look. Each year I return to familiar haunts where I have found flowers before. Each year I try to find new places with new wildflowers.

The freedom of my wanderings has been undercut, at times, by park, beach and trail closures. But there are enough wild places open, even within walking distance, to keep me occupied. During the weekdays, there are more people out than there would have been prior to the pandemic. Since many people aren’t going to work and are desperate to be outdoors, they are showing up at places I used to have to myself. I stay home on weekends.

Walking into meadow and forest is an immersion into primordial beauty and a focused treasure hunt. I am hunting down wildflowers and hoping to capture exceptional photographs.

Below are photographs of some of the earliest wildflowers.
• Checkerbloom
• Giant Trillium
• Pacific Trillium
• Baby Blue Eyes
• Blue Dicks
• Flowering Currant
• Forget-me-not
• Giant Trillium
• Golden Violet
• Redwood Violet
• Lupine
• Milk Maids
• Wild Onion
• Popcorn Flower
• California Poppy
• Sea Pink
• Pacific Trillium
• Wood Sorrel

This gallery contains 21 photos

The Remaining Wildflowers of 2019

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THE REMAINING WILDFLOWERS OF 2019

I posted a blog earlier this year about the superbloom at Carrizo Plain National Monument. In May I found more wildflowers at Pinnacles National Park. Today I am sharing many of the others blooms that I saw throughout the spring and summer. They were spotted along Skyline Blvd., up and down the the coast, Henry Cowell Sate Park, Uvas County Park and other local spots where I happened to be or where I pulled over to get a closer look.

Take your time and enjoy. There are a lot of them.

Please do not reproduce any photographs without permission. Contact Carla Brennan: brennan.carla@gmail.com.

 

This gallery contains 70 photos