Saturday, December 4, 2010
Wildflower Field in Central California, with Owl's Clover
As I roam the wildflower fields in the spring, I speculate that humans have an actual biochemical response to wildflower fields. I fancy that these beautiful flowers stimulate powerful bursts of serotonin, chemicals surging through the blood that allow the ignoring of painfully strong winds or baking heat or scratchy seed-laden socks, as we search and wander, continually amazed. The places that still sing this song of annual wildflowers are fewer all the time. They teach us what we need to know, so that wandering through wildflowers might happen at home too.
Last spring was a particularly inspiring wildflower season. In a favorite central California flower field, where the wind howled, I filmed the wind in the wildflowers. Click here to view the video. It was amazing how frequently the mix changed, to different proportions of species or different species altogether. The soil in this field was lean and sandy, even white in some places. Some "dry creeks" of pure sand ribboned through the field, and they too carried their full freight of wildflowers. Every year, as well, the mix of species changes, and the reasons for this variation are both obvious and obscure, an under-investigated arena. Speculating while wandering is an important part of the wildflower experience.