So spring is beginning in the Sonoran desert–this morning especially, there was just a feel in the air that made it easy to believe that.
Yet walking with lnhammer yesterday, we saw the effects of this winter’s sub-freezing nights. The cardón cacti are so universally brown and yellow that it’s doubtful most of them will recover–doubtful many of them live, even now. Green, deflated prickly pear pads lie in piles around now-smaller plants, though some of those have survived, diminished. The less ornamental varieties have held up better than the more decorative, spine-free varieties. The mesquite are brown, and dropped all their leaves in the days after the frost. We take it on faith that they will come back, because they have before, though we wonder if it isn’t a little late for them not to be showing signs of green. The wildflowers are sparse, too, but sometimes years they are: drought as well as cold can do that. And neighbors wonder whether to prune their citrus trees now, or whether waiting will help them.
In the desert, it’s hard to tell which of the many browned and yellow things are truly dead, and which will come back. The dead-looking things do come back to life, not always, but more often than I would have expected, when I first moved here.
Many things will not survive this winter’s deadly frost. But some things will, in this land of prickles and spines, even if we’re not sure, yet, exactly what they are.
And that’s why I read and write post-apocalyptic fiction.