Nearly a year ago, I posted about the remarkable yucca species known as Our Lord’s Candle, or, Hesperoyucca whipplei. I have been busy with writing projects since then – too busy for blog posts. On a recent walk in the dry canyon where I live, I came across another yucca plant, this one preparing to bloom. The sharp spikes of the yucca’s long, tough leaves are spreading their rays. Deep within lies the emerging blossom, almost invisible at this point, unless a person pays close attention.
Here is a close up.
Our Lord’s Candle can take five, or even six, years to mature enough to bloom. Once it has, and the blossom sets seed, the entire plant dies. Seeing and knowing that this bloom is a one-time deal makes it even more precious to me. When I return several weeks later to check on its progress, it’s as if I have missed several episodes of a Netflix drama. Lots has happened while I was (apparently) busy doing other (seemingly) important things.
The candle now rises above my head. You can see a skeleton of a former bloom, leaning behind the new flower. Past lives don’t rot away very quickly in dry landscapes.
2021 was filled with the slow work of adapting to a very different landscape, and preparing my first book The Geography of Memory, for re-release after 20 years. You can read more about this greatly expanded edition (and pre-order it!) here. I look forward to returning to the inland rainforest of the upper Columbia River region this year, where the intrepid yucca would not know what to do with all that rain.