Emergence of a Flarpit

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Low gray clouds move through the hillsides
Curtains of falling rain obscure the distant trees
Gray leafless limbs merge with the sky

Cloud shadows dance over the hills
Sunshine and heat midwife the emerging buds
Earthy ground grows a green skirt

Sun and heat urge on the flarpit
A flower-stained mountain
A palette of blue lupus and orange poppies and yellow mustards

*Flarpit: a carpet of flowers;

Burning Bush

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I was walking in the desert, trying to boulder my way up a canyon, following a hint of a trail at best. I saw that a bush was on fire but did not burn up. So I thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the red bush saw I had gone over to look, it called me from within, “Hey, You! Hey, You!”
And I said, “Here I am.”

In a booming godly voice, it said, “It pisses me off when you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
“But I did notice. It’s hard not to. The color purple is everywhere. Check out these pictures of phacelia, lupines, and sages.”

The bush burned, foilage swaying, bellowing out, “It’s not just purple, but flowers as blue as the cloudless sky. How can anyone walk by the color blue without noticing?”
“Sure. Blue is the new purple. Check these pictures. I don’t know what this first flower is. Maybe you can help.”
I heard an ember pop, or maybe a throat ruble. The bush said, “I don’t remember its name.”
“Hmm. I thought you were all knowing.”
“What about a red bush gave you that idea?”
“Well, you are the first one I’ve met that talks. Anyway, I posted the picture to iNaturalist. Maybe someone there can identify it. The iNaturalist AI suggested something in the genus Pholistoma.”
“Of course. Now I remember. The fiesta flowers.” If a burning bush could sigh, it did.
I continued, “The second one is called blue dicks. Giggle. Giggle.”
“What’s so funny about that?”
“Nevermind. It’s short for Dichelostemma capitatum. I read the bulbs are edible. The local Indians ate them.”
“Are you sure those are blue?”

The burning bush continued its rant. “It’s not just purple and blue. Nobody seems to notice red unless something is burning.”
“Well, I noticed you, didn’t I? Your flames look a lot like red flowers up close. I haven’t seen many red flowers, but I have a few red mushrooms to share.”

“The mushrooms are Rufous Candy Cap and Red Pinwheels. There hasn’t been much of a shroom bloom in San Diego County. Mushrooms have a beauty all their own.”

“Of course.”

“The red flowers are Chuparosa and an Ocotillo. The Chuparosa is a closeup of you.” I can’t tell if the burning bush was blushing at the sight of its own picture because the red on red doesn’t show, but I can hear the edge is gone from its once all-powerful voice.

The burning bush said, “The truth is, I don’t get to move around too much. I guess it’s me that doesn’t get much of a chance to notice. How about orange? You have any orange?”

“Sure. Check these out.”

The bush, burning with curiosity, said, “I’ve never seen those before. Those aren’t from the desert.”

“No. The inland valleys are putting on quite a show, too. With all the rain we’ve had, it’s impressive everywhere. This might be the best display I’ve seen, and you put on a pretty good one back in 2019.

“I wish I could wander the desert for forty years instead of just being stuck here. But I guess that is another story.”

“Yeah. Well, I haven’t encountered too many talking, burning bushes out here. That should count for something, right?”

“I guess. You have anything in a yellow?”

“Sure. I have a Dahlia, a California Encelia, a RedEye, and a couple I need to learn the names of. But names are insignificant. It’s still the same with or without the name.”

The bush, flushing red with enthusiasm, said, “Ooh. How about white? Anything in white?”

“Desert Cabbage, Evening Primrose, Pincushions, and a few more I need to learn the names of. Well, I’ve got to head out. Thanks for giving me an excuse to show off my super bloom pictures. Do you want me to tell people about the burning, talking bush?”

“Better not to, I think. I don’t talk to just anyone. Just show them the pictures, so they will be inspired to see them themselves. I will decide who to talk to and who not to.”

“Ok. You better go easy on mixing your cultural references.”

“Ah. Mixing my Moses and my Meyjes. Point taken.”