Column: Flower power — California’s ‘super bloom’ phenomenon


Photo credit: Lauren Evans Katz

A snapshot of the vibrant California super bloom in Antelope Valley. The flowers are scattered across various valleys in California.

Spring sprung, meaning it was inevitable that Californians saw flowers somewhere on their social media feed. From the unkempt greens of the bluffs to the bundles of vibrant colors that scattered the coastline, flower power was everywhere.

The heavy winter rainfall we all just (barely) fought through affected the California poppy super bloom in Antelope Valley. The super bloom was essentially a poppy-palooza; an endless sea of orange specks that expanded over hills and valleys, peaking from March to early April. If you need a visual, imagine the opiate poppy field from the Wizard of Oz — yes, it really was that magical, minus the hallucinogenic, tranquilizing effects. The super bloom drew thousands of locals and tourists alike to valleys across Los Angeles, all to catch a glimpse (or more likely a photo) with the striking California state flowers.

Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter feeds were jam-packed with poppy pics. Most LA natives posed atop the golden-orange flowers. And while it was fun to watch social media turn into a National Geographic-esque frenzy, most endured the long drive to this California-spring hotspot solely for the perfect post. Perhaps teens mistook their social media vanity for a love of nature.

Teens standing mysteriously among the flowers while gazing off into the distant somewhere for a picture was ultimately putting the flowers in danger of being stomped on and squashed. How ironic that people harmed nature on a journey supposedly focused on appreciating it. Sorry for our Camus-like nihilism, but we’re just acknowledging the darn truth. To those who take the trip out to the poppies themselves one day, we ask that you respect our dearest Mother Nature. Please, don’t damage the flowers.

Still, we must be honest with all of you; we too could not resist our youthful, social media-geared tendencies, venturing out eighty-something miles to Antelope Valley to pose with these poppies. However, in our time roaming these magical fields of orange, we did develop a new, authentic admiration for nature, nature that is only a few hours away from our front doors. Even if this journey is deemed “basic” by many, it goes without saying that the California super bloom was truly beautiful and ultimately worth it. What may have started as a photo opportunity ultimately expanded our perspective and appreciation for the wondrous sea of orange.

While this natural phenomenon turned social media trend spoke to the networking culture that is so present among our generation, in the end, the poppy photo-op drove young people into the great outdoors to get some fresh air and see some flowers, so can we really complain? Unfortunately, the super bloom has come to an end, but that does not mean there aren’t countless other natural spectacles worth seeing. So intentions aside, go outside, enjoy the golden California sun and frolic in some flowers.