Not just any poppies; California poppies, the state flower of California.
So why the picture of an old cinder block wall on the edge of an unkempt and weathered parking lot behind the old County Bank Building? Well, right there in the middle of the picture, where the lowest course of block meets the edge of the pavement are a few weeds, and some of these weeds are poppies showing how resilient they can be.
California poppies are opportunistic. They grow fast and bloom when they can. For most, that means that they bloom as the weather starts to warm up at the end of winter. For others in irrigated gardens, they can bloom in phases through summer. Some do their thing quickly as soon as they get a bit of moisture from the first autumn rains or even dew. They know what time of year it is, and that the weather will not likely get hot enough to cook them; so they bloom and throw their seed for another generation in a few more months, or maybe many months from now. They adapt. That is how they live on the edges of forests of the Santa Cruz Mountain, to interior valley chaparral, to the Mojave Desert. They are a remarkable specie.
Remember the poppies in the Wizard of Oz? There are several theories about what those poppies represent, and why the put Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and Toto to sleep without affecting Scarecrow and TinMan. Duh, Scarecrow and TinMan do not breath. They can not inhale the narcotic produced by the poppies. Even if they did, they lack the physiology to be susceptible to opiates.
There is a significance to poppies blooming today, the same day I wrote about the gingko, on December 13; but this ain’t Oz.