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The blue of the sky lupines has been replaced by the purplish tangled mats of winter vetch.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.