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Super-Bloom

Super-Bloom

Have you heard about the super-bloom that occurred in southern California recently?  The arid landscapes of Anza Borrego Desert and Death Valley were altered by an immense growth of wildflowers, painting them with gorgeous hues of reds, blues, greens, and yellows.   It was so incredible that people flocked in droves to see it.  Park rangers reported an influx of people getting lost in the fields and fainting from dehydration in their eagerness to view the beauty. 

So what’s the big deal about wildflowers?  Well, wild flowers bloom in the California deserts every year, but a super-bloom occurs only once every 10 years or so.  The term aptly describes the eruption of flowers blossoming in the middle of the desert at a much greater rate than the normal spring growth.  So that’s what all the fuss is about - the spectacular and rare transformation of the desert. 

What’s particularly fascinating to me is that the conditions have to be just right to trigger the super-bloom.  It requires a rainy fall and winter season, followed by El Niño weather patterns, and then not-too-hot temperatures.   Interestingly, many of the seeds that bloom have lain dormant for many years, decades perhaps, and some possibly even older than a century!  They lie in wait until enough water washes away their protective coating, creating the circumstances for them to bloom. One article dubbed the seeds as ‘survivors’ and included a quip from a park ranger: “You have to be tough to be out in the desert.”

The story really struck a chord with me, but I couldn’t place why exactly. Then, last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a women’s retreat, where the speaker shared the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree.  The story talks about a woman who plants a bamboo seed, and then fertilizes and waters it.   Nothing happens for a year, so the next year she waters and fertilizes it again.  Still, the plant does not grow.  In the third year, she waters and fertilizes it once more.  Yet, the plant did not grow.

By this time, the woman is quite frustrated because she sees no results.  Even so, in the fourth year she waters and fertilizes the plant yet again.  Still nothing, but she persists into the fifth year.  Wouldn’t you know, that year the bamboo tree not only started to grow, but it sprouted 96 feet in only 6 weeks time!

I understood then why the super-bloom story resonated with me so much. In this season in my life, I am that seed buried in the ground.  All the new things I’m learning and all the experiences I’m encountering are serving as water and fertilizer. When the right time and conditions present themselves, I’ll bloom to the potential I know I have inside of me. 

Reader, do you have a dream or vision that’s been buried inside of you for years, or even decades?   If so, be encouraged to know that it’s never too late to bloom. The seeds that survive time and hardship are resilient.  And the best part? The long awaited blooms are much more fantastic than any ordinary bloom. 

Photo courtesy of Chris Abney via Unsplash.

Additional Reading 

On the Super-Bloom: 

The Bamboo Tree Story

Overcomers: An Artist Triumphs over Tourette’s and...
Never Too Late to Bloom

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