+

This is Death Valley.

Image from SeantvScholz/Wikimedia Commons.


Death —

Image from Wolfgangbeyer/Wikimedia Commons.

— Valley.

Image from Urban/Wikimedia Commons.

(If looks like something out of "Star Wars," that's because it totally is).

The name alone is enough to make you thirsty.

GIF from "¡Three Amigos!"

Death Valley is a basin in the Californian desert just west of the Nevada border. It is the driest, hottest place in North America. The temperature once reached a reported 134 degrees Fahrenheit!

If Death Valley is so "dead" ... what the heck are all these flowers doing there?!

The #superbloom of wild flowers in #deathvalley. Quite a site from the normal dry-as-a-bone landscape so typical for the area.
A photo posted by Peter Gaunt (@petergaunt) on


SUPERBLOOM!!!!!! #deathvalley #superbloom #wildflowers #desert #california
A photo posted by The Muir Project (@themuirproject) on

Death Valley, you see, isn't really dead.

The animals and plants that live in Death Valley have adapted to survive the long, dry, hot conditions.

Death Valley receives, on average, just over 2 inches of rain a year, so every drop is precious. Some animals and plants that live there are great at conserving water. Other animals — like the roadrunner — get their water from eating other plants and animals. And others just hunker down and try to wait it out.

"Meep meep!" — This roadrunner, probably. Image from Dawn Beattie/Flickr.


“One more ACME product, and I’ll catch that dang roadrunner.” — (Wile E.) Coyote. Image from Manfred Werner/Wikimedia Commons.

When it does rain in Death Valley, the valley is less like the surface of Tatooine and a lot more like something out of "The Wizard of Oz."

A photo posted by Death Valley National Park (@deathvalleynps) on

This year's rainfall may be super special, causing a "superbloom" to form.

"You always get flowers somewhere in Death Valley almost every month of the year," says park ranger Alan Van Valkenburg in a YouTube video from the Death Valley National Park, "but to have a big bloom like this, which we hope will become a superbloom — which is beyond all your expectations — those are quiet rare. Maybe once a decade or so."

A photo posted by Kurt Lawson (@kurt765) on

A superbloom only happens when the conditions are just right: the perfect amount of rain in the winter and spring, the sun's warmth being just right, and no hot, desiccating wind to suck the moisture away. And it looks like it might just happen in 2016.

"You have to have just the perfect conditions. You never know when it's going to happen," Van Valkenburg says. "It's a privilege to be here and get to see one of these blooms. Very few people get to see it, and it's incredible."

A photo posted by Jenn Schicker (@jennschicker) on

A superbloom's amazing riot of color doesn't last long.

"It's not a permanent thing; it's just temporary," Van Valkenburg says. "It's here for a moment, then it fades."

A photo posted by @skinnycaligeez on

If you're thinking of visiting, catching a glimpse of the superbloom isn't really the kind of thing you can put off. Soon enough, the water will be used up. The plants will shed their seeds and wait for the next rainfall. And the land will return to sweeping vistas of dusty rock and the distant, lonesome calls of desert creatures biding their time until the next superbloom of life.


Image from David Mark/Pixabay.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

A man told me gun laws would create more 'soft targets.' He summed up the whole problem.

As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where people living their lives are referred to as 'soft targets.'

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Only in America are kids in classrooms referred to as "soft targets."

On the Fourth of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.

My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body, life will never be the same.

There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

"Way to create more soft targets."

Keep ReadingShow less

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

Keep ReadingShow less