3rd June 2023 Allan
SUPER BLOOM @ CARRIZO PLAINS, CALIFORNIA – FINDING BEAUTY IN UNEXPECTED PLACES
You know, sometimes you can find beauty in the least expected places. While driving and camping across the United States with our two dogs in the early Spring of this year, my wife and I encountered some unexpected difficulties. We had planned to drive from Salt Lake City, Utah, to San Francisco, California via the northern route, camping along the way. This is the shortest route, about 1,200 km of terrain that requires crossing of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We were naïve in thinking we could cross those mountains so early in the season – they were still completely covered in snow, with road closures throughout. As this became clear, we quickly changed our plans and drove into California via the southern route.
This disappointed us, as it added 500 km to an already long journey, and more importantly, it took us away from the beautiful northern mountain range down to the bare California desert to the south. As we drove along, making our way west, the sun began to set, but we could not find a suitable site to set up camp for the night. This forced us to push on driving, into the night of the California desert. It was a difficult day on the road, with snipping at each other followed by long intervals of silence, and we were exhausted.
We had heard from relatives that the Carrizo Plain National Monument was a good place for dispersed camping, so we pushed ahead to make it there. We arrived very late at night. It was dark, and all campsites near the designated camping area were taken, forcing us to set up camp on the side of a small road off the main gravel road that traverses Carrizo Plains.
You would imagine our surprise when we awoke the next morning, with the sun’s rising, to the most gorgeous site – a super bloom in the desert plains. You see, this arid region is host to seeds that lie dormant for extended periods, waiting for a bout of rain. In years with an unusually wet Spring (as was the case this year), these seeds all come to life simultaneously, making for the most impressive sight of miles and miles of yellow flowers, interspersed with blues and oranges as far as the eye can see. I was so taken with this unexpected and beautiful site that I sent a picture to my friend Beena, who very kindly painted the scene based on the photograph I sent.
Needless to say, the beautiful and unexpected Super Bloom raised our spirits, transforming the rest of our long journey to San Francisco into a pleasant and fun experience. No more snipping at each other after seeing the Super Bloom, although the long periods of silence in the car remained, this time the kind of silence that results from the awe of seeing how beautiful nature can be, even in the most unexpected places!
By the way, this is Grandpa Allan writing. My friend Beena’s painting entitled “Super Bloom @ Carrizo Plains, California – Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places” was so beautiful that it inspired me to write again, after a long time. I hope that Beena’s painting also inspires you to write. Oh, and then don’t forget to share the painting and your story with a friend so we can come up with 1,000 stories for this painting together.