Spring Brings Wildflowers (Charlie’s Nickname for Annabelle)

Close up shot of a red and green succulent. the is red, fading to pink. the bottom is green. One "leaf" is in the forefront with other rounded red tops in a blurry background.

Have you ever seen the desert after a good rain? It’s an awe-inspiring sight. And here’s the thing: I really resist writing “awe-inspiring,” even when it’s exactly that. It feels overblown, overused, and somewhat lacking even in its perfection. I feel like one of the Romantics–both in feeling and exaggeration! But the desert after a good rain so beautiful. It can also be emotionally overwhelming and a punch in the gut (speaking of dramatic but true).

Here’s the thing, you could drive by the same field or do the same hike repeatedly and nothing. Same, same, same-ity same. It’s brown and perhaps rocky. It can be pretty but not necessarily something to write home about.

It’s a different kind of beauty. Quieter. Easier to ignore.

When the rain falls? It’s a celebration of nature and abundance, especially since we desperately need the rain. Then there’s a gift for the eyes: a riot of expansive color. Color popping up in unexpected places. Joyful little flowers that you didn’t know lived in the nooks, crannies, and fields. It’s unlike other landscapes where you can see the fallow plants, knowing blooms will arrive at a specific time of year. The desert has its own clock and no clock at all.

This is the magic of the desert:

One day, dirt field. Day after a rain, unbound to the time of the year, flowers blooming like crazy where there wasn’t even a hint of life. A dirt “garden,” so to speak, that overnight, transforms the desert, looking like this in places:

yellow, white, and purple wildflowers in a field
Photo by Amber Stevens Pixabay

So, imagine being kidnapped and trapped in a mining hideaway.

Bleak.

Imagine being the reluctant kidnapper who finally realizes that he has found himself a treasure.

Caught between a rock and a hard space.

Initially, the detainee served a utilitarian purpose. But like flowers after a rain, Charlie eventually noticed the immense beauty in Annabelle. He also knew things that thrive in the desert are also resilient, hardy, and determined, just like his Annabelle.

In The Reluctant Bandit, Charlie’s nickname for Annabelle is Wildflower. Both his brother Jimmy and Annabelle wonder about this moniker. When she finally asks Charlie, this is his answer:

“You, my dear, are like a desert wildflower. You’re strong, resilient, and beautiful. You continue to stand even when the rains come down like a flood, and then the suns dries everything up, scorching the earth, turning things to dust–even when you’re under the hooves, you stand tall. It’s something to behold.”

Charlie’s one who keeps it close to his vest and isn’t for expression and sentiment. He’s the one to get it done, so “Wildflower” is an anomaly for him. On so many levels.

I happen to love nicknames and many of my characters and people I love end up with one.

What’s your nickname story? Does it belong to you or did you give it to someone? Do tell–I’d love to know!

Give me a shoutout! 🤠

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