Monday, July 5, 2010

Beauty in Strength

San Francisco summers are a bit infamous for being freezing cold.  I don't know why we're still so shocked every summer, as the fog comes rolling over the hills and the wind picks up to hurricane speed, but we are. 

Yesterday, the day started out with high heat and no breeze.  We were thrilled, a big day off with gorgeous weather... until it wasn't so gorgeous and we found ourselves in a winter wonderland, freezing our butts off.

Last year at this time, RK and I were in Mexico and we never even thought about the cold, foggy, spitty-wet days here in the ole SF.  The two of us were sweating along in the botanico, thinking we'd found heaven...

What we'd found was the sprawling, nearly empty botanical gardens that felt like your own private desert.  After paths and paths of dirt leading into hills and valleys, we came upon a green house filled with succulents.  More than any other plant these days, succulents get our hearts racing.  I don't know what it is about their spiky arms and solid leaves, but I find succulents to be these strange, fun, funky, surprising little plants.
Like little pieces of magic, they sprout up and reproduce in the most unlikely of conditions.  Such hearty little creatures, just when you think the thing is dried up and d.o.a., it pops out a blossom.  And I'm not talking about some pretty leaf with some shades of red or yellow, but intricate, webbed blossoms that look like cotton candy but will leave you feeling like a you've been stung by a bee!  These things are wacky!
They're the real thing.  They're life or death.  And while they can live in the cold, foggy climate of San Francisco, these things thrive on heat.  They're at their most beautiful in the struggling, empty plains of the desert.  I like that kind of resilience in my plants.

I know some people find succulents to be unattractive for their very nature of being "difficult" and our photos from this trip don't always do them justice, as we argue for the other side, but click on the photo and see it in a huge, detailed, macro-sort of way and then imagine... dead of summer, in a dry, hot field... nothing is coaxing you to come out, but you struggle and push and you carry your own water inside and boom!, there's some magic.

People and plants can have a lot in common.
If we're lucky.


i.m. monzaemon said...

I love succulents! Thanks for all the beautiful pics!

Anonymous said...

Amen, Mol, Beautiful post! Thanks for your clear vision. OX, Hol

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

Beautiful insight into these lovelies...I also love their heartiness, their ability to survive.

What they can teach us!

Bonbon Oiseau said...

these are som damn fine succulentes and cactii! these are gorgeous photos--mexico!
and who was it that said "the coldest winter i ever spent was a summer in san francisco..."

molly said...

it was mark twain.
a classic quote.

Sylvie said...

And yet it's still foggy, even down here in Santa Cruz, in the middle of July!