The grass is greener

Believe it or else, even with what is obviously going to be yet another crummy year for wetness falling out of the sky (a Tahoe Basin snowpack of 9 percent? NINE PERCENT? There seems little room for doubt now. We have angered the gods, and angered them deeply), there has been quite a bloom of wildflowers in the California deserts these past few weeks. There have been eye-melting bursts of poppies in the famous Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve, acres of flowers in the Carrizo Plain National Monument west of Bakersfield and, yes, even a few good shows in various locations in wondrous Death Valley.

But we are not, I'm happy to report, being shut out up here in Northern Nevada. I wasn't expecting much in the way of botanical beauty on my way to Gerlach a few days ago. In fact, I was kinda grumbling to myself that I'm going the wrong way, that I really should be headed back down to DV, now that the beavertail cacti are coming out with their splashy magenta displays.

Then, driving along Highway 447 just north of Nixon, it became apparent that Nevada was, in its own subtle way, putting on a spring time show of its own. For out in this Pyramidic zone right now, there is an extraordinary grassburst going on.

Yes, a grassburst. Big, fat clumps of green, green grass growing in the shade of every shrub in the desert. And I mean every shrub. Actually, there's nothing subtle about it. You look off in the distance and all the hills have a visible green sheen to them. Look closer about you, and all you see is grass grass grass grass grass, the deep vibrant green of their scraggly clumps complimenting the drab tans and grays of their sheltering shrubs.

Yes, we usually get wild grass every spring, it's true. But this year, it's a Stone Cold GrassBurst (SCGB), and the resulting splotches, splatters, and carpets of green are making the gnarly ole Silver State look about as Irish as it's ever gonna look.

It's not far away, basically between Nixon and mile marker 35 on 447. No, it's not gonna make the cover of Sunset magazine, and yes, it's just a bunch of grass, but if you get over that semi-condescending attitude based on a snotty floral chauvinism, well, you might just get your peepers dazzled and your soul soothed by this snazzy blast of emerald eyeball emollient. And as a bonus, in this same general area, the wildflower known as the fiddleneck, a most common and humble little plant, is doing its part to delight the modern jaded psyche. When encountered singly, the fiddleneck really isn't much of a flower, with its wimpy tiny yellow blooms. But now, in the middle of this giant SCGB, there are about, oh, I'd guess 784 million fiddlenecks goin' as crazy as fiddlenecks can, and they have the collective power to charm your socks off and ha ha ho ho hee hee hee…