In the fenced and ungrazed barn lot
where water rests before it rises
when it rains to find the culvert,
a thatch of summer flowers tall
all face the dawn—a photograph
to match with Calflora—
I’ve learned the names
of most wild and local flowers
that have survived our occupation.
Fifth generation in the same place,
I don’t care that these are non-native,
these immigrants established
year after year, flashing color
‘midst the bland and blond dry grasses
as they chase the sun down.
Like jewels glinting in summer weeds
as the creek retreats, Scarlet
Monkeyflowers, like faceted rubies
scattered among the cockleburs
within the rising green, flash
day’s first light before their tongues
unfold—unroll to sing to whirring
hummingbirds to pollinate their seed—
fine powder stirred with their foreheads.
along the creek
ignore the heat.
Our native feed germinated early at the end of October, and by Thanksgiving the rains came, six days at a time spaced with six days of gray. A fairly warm winter with few days below freezing, the grass grew, and by March, there was little room for wildflower bloom to compete for sunlight.
Exceptions are the yellow cascades of Bush Monkeyflowers and the purple Winecups or Farewell to Spring, both now showing spectacularly around Lake Kaweah. While looking for strays yesterday, this Twining Brodiaea caught my eye.
Rising from the earth,
heavy head climbing for light,
no two knots the same.
Lost in a thatch of brittle stems,
foxtails and grasses ripe
with seed, we are not extinct
despite extremes: grazing hoofs
and rising floods of rain—
the four-year drought
before they finally came
and all the honest mistakes
the ignorant have made.
We are tough and may outlast
your conceit, your
Endangered Species List.
Small yellow faces
drawing life where their seed rests
in cracks of granite.
Comes early, stays late—
adds color to gray granite
outcrops through summer.
We’re on the right track identifying yesterday’s wildflower thanks to Richard’s comment and friends of Facebook friends from CNPS. I’ve included the larger plant because I can’t visually confirm suggestions from Calflora photos, i.e. Camissonia contorta, Camissonia campestris, Camissonia pallida , etc. and to offer more information to those who’ve made suggestions.
This Camissonia is tough, right in the path to the corrals where a hundred head passed over it several times this spring. Our fate does not hinge on absolute identification, but far more interesting than this election.
I found a little patch of these interesting wildflowers on a well-traveled, sandy bank of Dry Creek in mid-April 2016. At first I thought they were Pygmy Poppies, but they may not be poppies at all.