Carrizo Plain National Monument
Santa Margarita, California
April 2023

The thing that makes the super bloom a remarkable experience is the sheer mass and number of flowers. To see the meadows and fields covered, as if a carpet of many colors and textures has rolled across the surface of the land, is extraordinary.

As I said in previous posts, it is hard to capture in 2-dimensions what is, in essence, a 3-dimensional, 360° and 5-sense experience. When you add in the incandescence of sunshine, the tender touch of the breeze, the melodies of birds and crickets, and most of all, the fragrance of thousands of blossom, it’s as if one merges into the landscape itself. A photograph just can’t do that. Not yet, anyway.

The super bloom is like a sand mandala, the sacred art prepared by Tibetan monks. They create a masterpiece painting made of individually placed brightly colored sand particles. After weeks of effort, the entire creation is swept away – destroyed – to symbolize the impermanence of all things. Here the tapestry is made up of petals and sepals, stigmas and stamens, anthers and ovules. Then the super bloom is swept away by summer heat and the cycle of seasons.

Below are futile, but worthy, attempts to convey the scale, grandeur and opulence of a super bloom. These photos were taken both in Carrizo Plain National Monument and on the way to and from there.

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