The desert is like Mother Nature’s modern art gallery. It’s blank and spacious and then pop! A burst of color. Or a strange Picasso plant. Bizarre to some, captivating to others. For me, there is something alluring/exotic about the desert landscape. It reminds me of the bottom of the ocean – but instead of blue liquid, it’s blue sky. Cactus instead of coral. Gliding birds instead of swimming fish.
I met my mom and sisters in the desert. Tucson, to be exact. And while there, we decided to hike the Catalina Mountains. We planned on the Canyon Loop Trail, “an easy hike, with rugged mountain views.” But, when we rolled up to the Ranger Station, the smiling-eyed volunteer insisted that we take the Wildflower Trail. No need to convince us! It was our bi/tri-annual girls trip and without kids to
drag entice, we could spend as much time as we wanted.
We set off with no expectations. No preconceived ideas.
The night before, we had been talking about Things. The heavy Things – like relationships and boundaries. Regrets and decisions. My sister, Laurie, had unpacked an old diary and read an entry dated six years ago. Words that she wished she could have shared with me. I cried the silent way as she read. I confessed that I had no idea she had felt that way. That my pain had caused her pain. And I said stoically that I couldn’t have received the message then.
I wasn’t ready.
Now, on the wildflower trail, our conversation bounced between these same thoughts and memories. We talked about the fact that you can’t change people. And as we walked, more and more colors dotted the landscape. Obnoxious fuchsias and canary yellows, all the more vibrant against the sandy canvas.
Our pace became slower and slower as we stopped to take notice and take photos. We mused at how amazing it was that we happened to be here at this moment when the wildflowers burst open. Of all the weeks, in all the months. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
And yet, it wasn’t the calendar that prompted it. The flowers bloomed when they were ready. The right conditions. The right amount of sun. The right amount of water.
Those closest to me waited patiently until I was ready. No amount of talking, coaxing, or convincing could have changed me. Which is extremely and tragically frustrating. All you can do is wait. Pray. Hope.
Some seeds, despite the best conditions, simply won’t sprout. There is no explanation or reason.
Others, if they’re ready and when they’re ready, will finally/beautifully bloom.