What would life be like if we could thrive only for a few weeks each year?
If, for the rest of the year, we had to lie dormant in dryness and heat, exposed to wind and relentless rodents that assume everything that’s not rock or sand is edible?
We would do our best to make these few weeks count. All our prickly defenses would make place for a display of attraction.
The pictures here were taken early 2001 in the Joshua Tree National Park, at the peak of the wildflower season. All these plants are strangers to me, as I am a stranger to their home, the desert.
It was still good to be a guest, because even the most alien forms of life can teach us something.
Persistence, in this case.
Most people of my generation are familiar with the Joshua tree because of the 1987 album by the band U2. I have been thrilled to hear that they will be on a Joshua Tree tour this year, again.
When I visited Joshua Tree National Park in January 1994 for the first time, I became quickly obsessed with finding the most photogenic specimen.
And there are thousands of them, all lamenting the state of the planet, it seems.
They are interesting plants – not trees, actually, but yuccas. Being able to spread through seeds or rhizomes, sprouting from their extensive root system, makes them well adapted to desert climate. Otherwise they are not particularly useful, which is probably the reason why they are still around.
Besides admiring the Joshua trees, there are other things one can do in the park. I, for instance, had liberated a cactus that was held in captivity in a store in Berkeley, and planted it in the desert.
We had ideals back then.