Chapter 56: My Year of Springs
This year a fortunate combination of climatic factors, wishful planning, and a good deal of luck presented me the opportunity to witness the coming on of Spring in four separate locations on this planet, each one experiencing spectacular wildflower blooms not seen in recent memory. I traveled from the Mojave Desert (where Lake Manly partly filled in Death Valley) to Anza-Borrego near the Mexican border and later into Arizona during the North American Spring. Then, unexpectedly awarded a sabbatical leave, I was able to take in the wildflower blooms of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania during their Spring. I was on the go, off and on, from Mid-February to Mid- November. From early October to mid- November, I literally wandered alone in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, driving and hiking my way through the outback of South Australia and forests and lakes of Tasmania. A field biologist?s dream come true. So aside from several thousand digital images of truly spectacular wildflower blooms and a bestiary of exotic creatures, what else did I bring back from these wanderings?
Just this observation..that given the chance, life will persist. From the harshest gravels and driest sands, I?ve seen life once again emerge, turning barren landscapes into gardens that rival Eden. Despite the cruelest of adversities, life endures and given the right conditions, explodes in a calamity of colors that produce prismatic vistas and intoxicating aromas that stagger the senses. For a brief moment, beauty and serenity dominate these formerly desolate lands. And the wildlife, not to be outdone, flourish as well, responding to their rare good fortune with a proliferation of breeding that sets the world swimming, crawling, hopping, running and flying with their young. Spring! Not just any Spring, but the ?Spring of a Lifetime? repeated four different times in four different places around the world! I was the unlikely winner of a biological sweepstakes, never imagined, but humbly and gratefully accepted and appreciated.
Translating this field experience into human terms, the big lesson that it teaches is an obvious one? that hope springs eternal. Now, we all hear this and would like to believe it, but the abrasion of everyday life and the development of unfortunate situations beyond our control tend to wear us down, till hope becomes little more than a nice idea with no foundation in reality. This year has shown me that hope is not just an idea, but a very real phenomenon, as necessary to our lives as water is to the wildflowers that I photographed from one end of this Earth to the other. So my message to you is a clear one, do not be afraid to hope! Despite your adversities, despite the suffering and unfairness that accompany living in this world, you too can endure and spring forth given the right conditions. And what will get you through to those better times is hope. Just as a seed contains food within its shell to allow it to survive until the Spring, we are equipped with hope to sustain us to our time of rejuvenation. If you must only believe in one thing, believe this: There is always Hope!
Images by courtesy of Mick Bondello