A Tulip Grows in the Desert

Tulips:  a symbol of fortitude in a harsh landscape.

Tulips: a symbol of fortitude in a harsh landscape.

Last year, my first spring out of the damp Pacific Northwest, I was pleasantly surprised by all of the spring foliage.  Living in the desert, I did not anticipate daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and fruit blossoms to appear for a few short weeks between the 20 degree and the 100 degree days.  I especially did not anticipate tulips in our yard, the yard neglected over years prior to our arrival.  Incredibly, these hardy bulbs are able to remain dormant throughout the deep freeze of the winter and survive the intense heat of the summer.

Yesterday, our tulips finally bloomed.  I was concerned because all around town flowers were showing themselves off.  No need to worry, ours are just late bloomers.  I cut a few off to put inside on our house, but will keep the others intact outside for a few more days to enjoy the natural sunshine and the pleasant weather with their bee friends.

We have spent countless time trying to figure out how to make the landscape of our homestead a bit more pleasant without a ton of water.  We have cultivated, dug, planted and covered up our land trying to make it more aligned with the climate.  We’ve planted low-water desert plants, created rock gardens, used our chicken mowers and yet invasive weeds still dominate the yards.  And yet, the most beautiful thing in our yard, we haven’t touched.  These tulips live without human interference, they just exist.

I’ve always felt that I could live anywhere, adapt to anything and create the life I desired.  This location has proven these long-held notions harder to believe than ever before.  The weather here challenges me, especially the stretches of 105 degree days in the summer.  And then I look at these tulips and I am amazed by their ability to survive the extremes.  If they can do it, I can do it too.  I can become a hardier, more adaptable version of myself.  I can just exist and make it work.



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