Little water, big thrill
Right now, about 300 miles to the southeast, in that wonder of a national park called, delightfully enough, Death Valley (a consultant/focus group nightmare!), there is a natural phenomenon taking place that is truly worthy of the adjective “phenomenal.” Also worthy of “spectacular,” for it is indeed a rare spectacle, the extraordinarily special spectacle of the hills of DV on fire with the sex organs of millions of various entities.
In other words, there’s one of those notorious Super Blooms of wildflowers going on. They don’t happen often. The two previous Supers were in ’05 and ’98. I saw the one in ’05. I grokked it. I participated in it, with it, and I got out of it, and it was fantastic, in the literal sense in that it seemed to spring from a fantasy, from a desert version of Fantasia, and I started looking for fairies flitting about, and goddamn if just then a beautiful little Costa’s hummingbird with its iridescent purple throat didn’t show up as if on cue, darting about the low lying blossoms and pollinating his fool head off and yes, OK, the fairies are here, and it’s all good.
The Super Bloom of ’16 is just as fabulous.
Standing in these acres and acres of orange and yellow sunflowers called Desert Gold, one easily feels pleased. It’s pleasant out here. There is pleasure upon the eye, ear and nose. Pleasure in discovering that, after walking around for a while in these amazing fields of gold (cue the Sting song), your jeans become splotched with puffs of yellow pollen from these thousands upon thousands of beguiling flowers, their brilliant heads dancing and bouncing in the mild afternoon breezes of this perfect, warm, gorgeous desert.
The earliest you will see this column is Thursday, March 3. Will this marvel still be marvelous? I think it’s safe to say yes. The Show should be on until the middle of March, although there’s a real and urgent need for a rain shower or two if this floral freakout is to last till the end of the month. If you’re inclined to whiz on down here and channel your inner Julie Andrews (the hills are alive, mofo!), don’t procrastinate. The sun down here is merciless, even in early March. For latest intel, check two internet sources—the park’s web site, and Desert USA, which has quite good wildflower pics and updates.
If at all possible, visit DV during the week. Leave the weekend alone, because the place becomes a bit of a madhouse, understandable since this eye-boggling event has received all kinds of national coverage, including stories in every Times from New York to Los Angeles. Google Death Valley super bloom and you’ll see.
Bottom line—DV is out of its mind right now. The beauty here in the park is literally breathtaking. You’ve never seen anything like it. In modern lingo, it’s sick. Redonkulous. Off the hook. Or, more simply and timelessly—wow.