Desert


(thats the Sierra Vista Public Library up there!)
Its pretty interesting living in the desert. The weather is variable and unpredictable. The mood of the landscape can change entirely with the influence of a passing cloud, or a flock of doves chasing a hawk, or the sound of a locust out in the grass somewhere. Looking into the backyard this morning gave me both a thrill and a chill – the grass is more than a foot tall, and its refreshingly green. There are wildflowers everywhere, white, purple, blue, yellow. The mimosa tree is in full blossom an waving hairily in the wind. Those things are the thrill. The chill is the knowledge that soon I’ll have to get out there and cut down the grass and wildflowers. City ordnance won’t allow us to have natural meadows on our property – we can be fined if the grass is too tall. For now, I’ll enjoy the meadow as it stands.

Walking this morning I was reminded about just how easy it is to miss the beauty of the desert altogether. When you see it from the road, driving by at 75 MPH, it is a blur. The greens and browns blur into a muddy smear. The distant mountains are beautiful, but the near field is obscured. Someone who has only seen this place from the road has not really seen it at all.
When you walk, everything is different. You can walk out into the grass among the mesquite trees and cactus, and suddenly find yourself swallowed up in it. What looks dead from the highway is full of rambunctious life. Lizards, birds, snakes, rabbits, jackalopes, coyotes, javelina! A riot of activity. And the colors, so blurred and ugly are clarified and delineated. Flowers, grass, sand, stone – and the sky, which can be so blue sometimes that it hurts to look at it. That’s why I tell people that Arizona is hell for a motorist, but heaven for hikers.
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