Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park in the Fall

Ahhh...fall in the Mojave Desert, with electric reds, oranges and yellows. Well, maybe not so electric. In fact, maybe those colors are REALLY subtle.

But they are there: the rusty-red seedheads of wild buckwheat, the (somewhat) orange dormant shrubs and the yellowish flowers of autumn-blooming rabbitbrush. Oh, yes, and the reddish tail of the redtail hawk. (Look carefully--the hawk is in flight in front of the Joshua tree on the left).

Another fact of life in this part of America -- you may have noticed that the Joshua trees in this painting seem to have a slight tilt to the left, specifically toward the South. Joshua trees have an unfortunate habit of growing toward the sun. For small, herbaceous plants, that wouldn't be a bad thing, but when you're a heavy Joshua tree, you don't really want to do that. As the tree grows, it becomes off-balance, causing the tree to lean more and more southerly until it finally topples over.

That's life in the Mojave desert. The seasons change, the subtle colors of fall come and go, and Joshua trees fall over from the weight of their own asymmetry as they reach for the sun.

Is there anything we can learn from this?

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