I moved to California in 2006. And I have lived here most of the time since with brief, ill advised moves to Florida that have punctuated my California time. I love it I here. I really do. I want more land but other than that, I am so lucky to live where I do.
For most of the time I have lived here, California has been in a very bad drought. We have little water and the water we have is expensive and rationed. We have needed rain, lots and lots of it but that causes issues of its own. And whenever we have gotten rain it has come with deadly consequences and devastating effects.
I love it here because it doesn’t rain. I am from the East Coast and while there are many wonderful things about the East Coast, rain is not one of them, at least to me. I love the green but hate the processes required to bring the greening.
What I have been privileged to observe lately with all the rain we have received, with milder devastating effects, has been how the landscape appears barren and brown but with the tiniest bit of water, something wonderful happens.
The hillsides and mountains now resemble Ireland or Hawaii. Everything is so lush and green. It takes my breath away. I drive around the snow capped mountains and just breathe in the off gassing of all that green. It is heady stuff.
We are supposed to have the most amazing super bloom this year due to all this wetness. And I can’t wait. It is already starting, these once barren hillsides and ravines now beginning to pop with color and life. It is something to see.
As I was driving the other day on the windy back road that leads to my home, I saw the blooms and their nascent beginnings. And they are amazing now, so the anticipation is great for what is about to come. But as I was driving, I thought about the fact that these wildflowers have to be present all the time. I mean it has rained a lot here but not wildflowers...although that would be very fucking cool.
I thought that the things needed for wildflowers are there all the time. They are present each year but we only see the flourishing of the ones that got enough of what they needed to grow and bloom. And that made me think of us. People. We are like this. There are these hibernating qualities in us that are present all the time but just not flourishing because of a failure to attend to the needs of such tiny seeds of character.
We all have them in us. Whether we be the most awful people or the best. Those wildflowers are present. But like the real wildflowers, they can only bloom and flourish when attended to. Water is required. Perhaps that is tears for us. Perhaps we need to grieve, we need to cry to allow for our own super bloom. Perhaps we need to wait patiently for conditions that will better foster our growth. Perhaps, we need wind and storms to move us to where we are better suited to flourish.
It was an amazing thought really. That inside me I have all that I need to flourish and abound. I am not really lacking anything. I am not deficient or barren in my attributes, my skills, my personality. I have all that I need to become the most amazing wildflower human. But what I lack control over is the surrounding circumstances to a large degree. I cannot make rain. Or wind. Or sun. I must wait for those things and only then can I bloom to my fullest potential.
But we are not plants or tiny seeds rooted in place or at the whim of every large breeze, we are people, who can ambulate and attend to our own growth. As a person with a ring side seat to humanity at its best and worst, I can attest that we are almost always the last ones to know that we have the power to bring about different circumstances to better effectuate our growth and blooming potential. We. Us. We can do that.
We need time and bravery. I am not sure wildflowers possess bravery, or perhaps what the wildflowers do every year, some years with expansive presence and purpose, maybe what they do is the most brave thing ever. They allow the conditions of their lives to stunt them or bloom them up real nice. And they do their best with what they have. Lack of water and hospitable conditions do not dim their shine or their fortitude. The ones who can, bloom and those whose conditions did not support the larger growth, wait. Wait for their turn, their timing, their amazing life to begin. And then when the conditions best support their bloom, they motherfucking bloom!
I do not know how much effort it takes for a wildflower to bloom. I will likely never know, perhaps until it is too late. I am grateful to have had the thought at all. To take time away from all my self obsession and think about the wildflowers and their tiny little lives. Each one contributing flash and pizzazz to the larger and more spectacular blooming event.
And I have come to believe that perhaps we could learn a lot from the wildflowers and their lives. The silent, hillside inhabitants that wait patiently for years until the conditions are ripe for their outward growth which maybe only gives a tiny and slight indication of all they quietly endure in all that waiting.
And perhaps I am more like those brilliant, delicate flowers than I have ever realized. Perhaps I can use my ability to become rooted in place to my advantage. Perhaps I can grow up in myself all the things that I need to bloom exactly where I am. I do not need to move or change. Perhaps instead I need only to focus on those things I need to bring about and to the surface what the universe gave me at my arrival here on planet earth.
Perhaps we all do. Perhaps instead of all this focus and obsession with change, perhaps instead we move the conversation to how important it might be for patience, understanding and the courage, the amazing courage to persist even when your outward circumstances are not to your liking, do not feel life supporting and are not all that great for a lot of positive growth.
Perhaps we could learn a great deal from the wildflowers and their florescence. Perhaps we all have exactly what we need inside us all the while. Perhaps we are all just waiting for the conditions required to burgeon us toward our ultimate and amazing goal of rising to the height of all that is within us. Whether our bloom brilliant and spectacular, or tiny and stunted, we all possess the power and ability to bloom.
I think I shall be reminded of this now every time I am blessed to be near those amazing hillsides, creek beds and specks of California Wildflowers...and I know that my life is better for the thought and view.