Wildflowers and wildness

by Jennifer on March 28, 2008

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
–John Muir, conservationist and founder, The Sierra Club


I couldn’t drive as far as I wanted today because of confusing road construction that made it unclear whether it was possible to go north on 87 to Payson. I’m sure there was a way, somehow, but the other drivers ahead of me couldn’t seem to figure it out either.

Still, I was able to get a handful of photos of the glorious wildflowers that are in bloom right now. This is my favorite time of year here in Arizona. It seems as though the brown, dry earth keeps a secret for 10 months of the year, and can’t hold it in any longer once the middle of March comes along. Suddenly, bright, nodding flowers line the roads and carpet wide swaths of land. Yellow. Purple. Red. Mountains that are brown the rest of the year now look as though they’ve been rubbed with gold. The effect is lovely, all of it is beautiful. Every driver was slow today on that road, even me. There was too much to see, and no rush.




“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
–John Muir


Back in April of 2007 (in a earlier blogging effort), I wrote about these cliffs, which are part of the Bulldog Cliffs and rise hundreds of feet above the Salt River as it snakes through Tonto National Forest.

You can’t see it from this angle (or distance), but near the top, in a crevice between those two outcroppings in the center, there is one saguaro cactus. It grows high above anything that one would think might sustain it. There doesn’t seem to be anything but rock up there, or much sun most of the time. Yet it survives. In conditions that seem unfavorable, even hostile, it finds what it needs to grow. I look for it every time I drive past, and if I ever find that the saguaro is no longer there, I think it might break something small but significant in me.

For identities that are perhaps a bit lonely, a bit anxious at the thought of the world, this could be the place to hinge a life.
–Allen Jones, on Ingomar, Montana


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

cce March 28, 2008 at 2:34 am

What a lovely day. I’m jealous of your ability to just get in and go and find wide open spaces that take the breath away. And that cactus, here’s hoping it’s there forever, one toehold in the cruel world, one in the mystery of the divine.


Mad Madge March 28, 2008 at 5:13 am

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
–John Muir

I love this. It reminds me that even just getting into the back yard for a bit every day is important.


Daryl E March 28, 2008 at 5:54 am

This reminds me of the way drivers navigate the roads in CT and VT in the fall..

Its not just your photos, Jennifer, its the way you describe what you see .. just wonderful … it makes me want to come out there even more than I did before I ‘met’ you.


Lisa Milton March 28, 2008 at 8:30 am

I love it when you open up this part of the world for me – so different from my terrain. So beautiful.

“…I think it might break something small but significant in me.”

I know that feeling, when treelines get logged here; it hurts. Lovely sentence.


Jenn @ Juggling Life March 28, 2008 at 8:46 am

Food for the soul.


marlee March 28, 2008 at 10:15 am

I love this post. Thanks. 🙂


Crazycath March 28, 2008 at 10:25 am

Jennifer those flowers are beautiful against such an arid looking ground. The colours must lift your spirits! It is amazing what will grow in hard places. We all find what we need to survive huh?

More of Arizona please! Gives me some perspective of where you (and others) live and how your seasons are changing.

Over here just mix rain with grey and you got it!


we_be_toys March 28, 2008 at 11:04 am

Bee yoo ti full!
I love spring and all the gorgeous wildflowers. I can see us taking this drive together, taking turns hanging out of the window to snap drive-bys as the other hugs the curve…!


Neva March 28, 2008 at 11:06 am

I was visiting Muir Woods in California a few weeks ago….stunning…..the difference between preservationists and environmentalists certainly has caused a few rifts in friendship…most notably between John and Teddy Roosevelt.
Love the photos.


Mrs. G. March 28, 2008 at 11:11 am

As I sit by my window watching the SNOW fall, your photos of those wildflowers gave me just the spring boost I needed.


ByJane March 28, 2008 at 11:24 am

I just love saguaro cactus (or cacti, as the case may be). They so say, “Life goes on…the rest of it gets washed down the arroyo.” (WTF does that mean, you ask. I dunno, I answer.)


TX Poppet March 28, 2008 at 11:40 am

What gorgeous pics! Some bloggy bling for you here


the mama bird diaries March 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

So it’s not about the drive, but where the drive takes you. Or maybe it’s about both.

Great pics, cool quotes, lovely post.


Mary Alice March 28, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Thanks for taking us with you. It was a beautiful trip!


Angela March 28, 2008 at 12:56 pm

I think we’ve already had a little chat about you and these photos. Let me tell you about New York on March 28th: SNOWSTORM. At least it covered up the mud.

These are beautiful. I love love love your pics, J. But you know this.


Jennifer Harvey March 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm

I will be crying my eyes out when it’s 115 degrees here EVERY DAY later this summer. That’s my winter. Except it’s bloody freaking hot. Either way, it’s impossible to be outside. Any sympathy yet?

I didn’t think that would win anyone over just yet. 🙂


Tootsie Farklepants March 28, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Ooohhh it’s all so pretty!!


JCK March 28, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Beautiful! We have flowers everywhere here, too. People say S. California doesn’t have seasons, but it does….oh, it does. Just more subtle and softer tones. Yet magical. Thanks for sharing your Saguaro story. We have 3 very old ones just outside our kitchen door. They have exquisite night time white blossoms that bloom in June/July.


Sandy (Momisodes) March 28, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Those view and flowers are breathtaking. That is so endearing you look for that cactus among the cliffs 🙂 That says so much about your kind heart. Thanks so much for sharing some sights of Spring! There was quite a bit of sleet here today….


flutter March 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm

This state really can be gorgeous


Carolyn March 30, 2008 at 12:33 am

It’s a blizzard here tonight. Thanks for sharing a little piece of your beauty with me.


Dave March 30, 2008 at 8:21 am

By the way, these photos are wonderful. How lucky you are! Hope you find a shady spot soon. : )


AMomTwoBoys March 30, 2008 at 8:46 am

Awesome! I can use your wildflower in lieu of the ones we missed out on yesterday!


Jules~ March 31, 2008 at 10:18 am

The wild flowers are so beautiful. THe bright colors just jump out of the scenery and proclaim a call of beauty.


dragonfly April 1, 2008 at 7:27 am

Oh, what beautiful flowers!! I look forward to Germany in bloom, the wildflowers were lovely last year..


Brenda April 7, 2008 at 8:04 am

Beautiful pictures of one of my favorite things, wildflowers. And what I love about them, other than that they’re beautiful and wild, is that everywhere you go, they have their own flavor. Their own colors. Their own special way to make that place the most incredible place in the world at the moment.


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