Above the tree line, frigid wind, snow and ice sever all but the most adapted life forms.
In this harsh environment, against all expectation, alpine wildflowers paint the rocky terrain with vibrant hues of pink, purple, white and yellow:
Colors we typically associate with femininity–certainly not our definition of rugged.
Though the largest clusters are one to two inches tall and less than a foot in diameter, most are miniscule–those pictured here, just an eighth of an inch! These tiny beauties have the power to attract attention despite intense competition from endless mountain views and pristine open skies:Miniature stature we typically deem picayune– certainly not our definition of majestic.
Sometimes needing several years to produce their brilliant best, they bloom as long as they’re able, which is sometimes just a day, a week, perhaps a month at most, then rest for the long winter. If damaged by caribou, moose or tourist, it may take years to recover the wound.
This level of productivity we might typically judge as insubstantial, flimsy–certainly not our definition of efficient or prolific.
Yet who among us could survive the throes of an alpine home?
How is it, then, these dainty fairies thrive amidst frozen, barren, wind-torn and rocky terrain? Read the rest of this entry