I often highlight spring wildflowers that surround my home around Easter weekend, but this year is different, because our home was in the center of the firestorm that raged through Northern California last October.
All the wildflower photos here are from previous springs in my home forest; except the last two, post-fire.
Six months have gone by, and we are still living in temporary housing in the next county. There are many problems in the area with infrastructure, not enough repair crews, debris removal, and interminable delays. We all struggle here, in various ways.
For us on our rural property, our electrical system was incinerated, so it has to be rebuilt. There is a house, but it is not habitable. Nothing physical has been done in six months, except one pile of ash and debris (once a cottage) was removed.
There’s plenty of activity, exhaustingly so, but it’s all paperwork and talk.
The good news started this week, when the hallowed electrical pole was at last installed.
Meanwhile, autumn turned to winter and the holidays came and went…and spring is right on time.
Although hundreds of thousands of damaged trees lie covering the ground and choking the growth urge, still, there is a stirring from underground.
The wildflowers are rallying.
Wildflowers never stay for long, they are short-lived. I have seen seasons where they only came out for two days before the rains pounded them down, or the sun parched them.
While there is a lot to love about wildflowers, with their bright colors and harbinger ways, what I love most about them is their wildness, their impermanence.
They say, “Look at me now. Not tomorrow or on the weekend.”
They are fleeting, as nature can be, and they say, “Look at me now, because I may not be here another day.”
I stand there in the rubble, looking for signs of spring. Shoots of grass are peeking through the scarred earth, the songbirds are cavorting and looking to nest, and some of the survivor trees are beginning to leaf.
The wildflowers, the birds, and wild mammals, too–they train us to be present in the world, wake up, and take notice of the glory that surrounds us.
As the earth awakens in this recently ravaged corner of the world, I listen to the sweet trill of the finch’s song, my eyes scanning the deadened forest for signs of life.
And somehow, I guess from studying the forest for all these years, I know that it’s going to be okay.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander