Monday, April 2, 2007

Joshua Tree

Yesterday Noel and I visited Joshua Tree National Park to see the annual blooming of the trees. Ranger Dar, whose talk we joined, 'Meeting the Joshua Tree', told us that this year is the best blooming he's seen in 10 years. This year has also seen no measurable rainfall yet, so there weren't a lot of desert flowers blooming. The place itself is just incredible to be in. Last time we went, about 6 years ago, it was over 100 degrees and hard to be in the sun. Yesterday was perfect, in the 80's, with a beautiful sky and not much wind.

One interesting thing I learned, and why I am inspired to write this today, is that Joshua Trees grow in a most unusual way. Each one is completely unique and different, often markedly so. The enthusiastic Ranger, who was so much fun to listen to because he obviously loves what he does, explained that each tree is completely affected by its immediate environment. In order to grow and spread, the individual branches must split, and split again, to create the unusual form of a Joshua Tree. Different factors figure into how this happens, animals chewing on a branch can begin the process, so can fire or lightening, and so on. Stress on a tree creates the tree, in other words. Interesting. I was immediately struck by this. Aha!

I took the picture of this beautifully blooming tree. It was the most perfectly blooming one I saw yesterday.