The desert seems intent upon discouraging life in all but its most prickly forms. Water, the precursor to life, is a foggy concept. Rivers contain dirt, not water. (True story: In 1944 25 German prisoners of war interned in Phoenix's Papago Park tried to escape by boating down the Gila and Colorado Rivers to Mexico. They were easily apprehended when their boat failed to float down the dry riverbed.)
Outside of the faux green lawns and non-native palm trees of Phoenix the skyline disappears into a swath of burnt sienna and spiny cacti. Actually, much of the city looks like that too but the neon In-N-Out Burger signs lend a different air of desolation to the cityscape.
After so much brown, a field of sunflowers in downtown Phoenix served as a jolt to the senses. Such a vibrant yellow is missing in the earthen, rusted desert color wheel. Planted as a sign of life and regeneration in what has become a derelict downtown, the field was abuzz with bees.