There is a slight breeze in the air as my aunt, her family, and me step inside the grounds of the Carlsbad Flower Fields. I fumble with my DSLR for a few minutes while we look at a small spread of flowers. Why am I holding back? Guess I’m rusty. I remember the promise I intend to keep: practice and publish your photography! We proceed to climb onto an orange wagon for a loop around the blooms. Out of the 50 acres of flowers, 30 are in bloom today. The tour satisfies me, but not nearly enough. With the rumbling of the tractor, my shots are blurry and the composition is mediocre.
The first stop we make I beeline for the exit and jump down onto the dusty dirt road. Pictures don’t take themselves, I think and follow my aunt’s sister to the rows of orange, pink, white, red, yellow and purple dahlias. I happen to really like dahlias, and these have fragile, but small vibrant petals. The last dahlia I touched at Orange County Wholesale Flowers was a purple and robust, quarter-inch thick specimen. I reminisce on the weeks I spent last quarter reporting a longform story at the Santa Ana warehouse. Who knew that I would end up with a growing respect and admiration for flowers and the people who help make them beautiful?
I’m snapped out of my reverie as my aunt pulls up in a wagon once she’s done with the loop of the fields. We stroll down the long row of flowers together and look for photo ops. I’m lucky because she loves taking photos on outings and has such a fun personality. I insist that we pose for photos along the walk, and that being silly is a good thing. Not only is my aunt a fantastic conversationalist, but her perspective on life encourages me to be a kinder, more thoughtful person.
We end up joining the rest of the group and wander the rose garden, sweet pea maze, poinsettia greenhouse and a greenhouse full of Cymbidium orchids, which are very popular in California. They are huge plants, but I wanted to see other varieties of orchids too. Maybe someday when I return they will have more plants.
As we head back to Orange County, my mind replays the moments of quiet introspection back at the fields. I think flowers are my new addiction.