From the Ashes, From the Desert

Posted on Mar 6, 2016

Death Valley Exposed: Wildflowers – February 2016 from Bristlecone Media on Vimeo.

Many years ago, I was given an artist residency at Glacier National Park in Montana. The year I was scheduled to arrive (2003), the park had its driest season in a long time and huge wildfires forced evacuation of the park. So instead I was allowed to come to Glacier the following summer.

That year, Glacier had one of its wettest summers on record, causing landslides that even closed Going-to-the-Sun road. But the surprise of that season was in the blackened remains of burned forests: a sudden bloom of wildflowers. Many had not been seen before, or very rarely. The seeds had lain dormant until fire, exposure to light and finally rain awakened them from a long slumber.

A plant biologist told me they were hurriedly collecting seeds from all around the park to ensure they would have stock for the native plant nursery, used for future restoration projects. They were in awe of the rebirth of these forgotten understory plants, which by now are probably back in the shade of young conifers replacing the old forest, rarely to be seen again until the next perfect moment.

So in this moment of early spring 2016, I share with you the similar story taking place in Death Valley CA.  A place we think of as perhaps unforgiving and unable to sustain life. But given the right conditions, these seeds of beauty spring to life. <Insert creativity metaphor here.>