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Posts Tagged ‘cactus photos’

And not a moment too soon. This winter has been too long, especially in the east. Even though Southern Arizona’s temperatures are running 7 to 10° above average, (see: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/21/1372266/-Cartoon-Animal-Nuz-243-Climate-Hope-Edition) I’m glad to have moved my sweaters to a less accessible place in our little casita.

The heat has also brought spring in an early rush. The fig trees have burst open leaves. Our patio poppies (volunteers from last year) are lush with golden orange flowers. The ocotillo are wrapped in their green cellophane-like leaves and their red bud tips are already providing food for verdants and goldfinches.

Our ocotillo provided cover for a clay pot in which ground doves built a nest. The fledgings (2?3?) left yesterday. All that remains is an untidy mix of twigs, feathers and bird droppings.

Yesterday’s Spring Equinox was a triple treat. Besides the arrival of spring parts of the globe were treated to a full solar eclipse as well as super big moons as it comes closest to the earth for the year.

So, if you’re still digging out or beginning to dig in the garden, here’s a glimpse of the Sonoran Desert’s spring. (All photos © SR Euston)

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Out of Monahans, West Texas we dipped due south, across the Pecos River and up the Stockton Plateau. Past the Glass Mountains, the Wood Hollows, and, beyond Marathon, we followed the old Great Comanche Trail toward the “big bend”, that portion of the Texas/Mexico border where the Rio Grande’s flow abruptly changes direction from southwest to northeast.

The landscape began to improve. Twenty six hundred forty seven miles into the trip we crossed the Santiago Mountains’ Persimmon Gap and

Octotillo ©SR Euston

entered Big Bend National Park. Spreading out to the horizon were 800,000 acres of protected Chihuahuan desert (an area larger than Rhode Island): a sea of grass, mesquite, scarlet-tipped ocotillo, prickly pear. We could see in the distance, jutting up between us and the Rio Grande, the silhouette of the High Chisos Complex, a broken jumble of desert mountains.

I guess big desert spaces scare some people, especially those used to seeing no farther than across the street. As for me, it was love at first sight.

We checked in with the volunteer ranger at the entry station. But our “Official Big Bend Greeter” turned out to be a bobcat, who, although typically a nocturnal creature, stood out in the open by the roadside in mid-afternoon, giving us a long leisurely stare before sauntering off into the mesquite. Less than a mile down the road we stopped to view a rattlesnake, sunning on the macadam. When we looked up there was a tarantula! By the time we broke camp at Rio Grande Village a week later, we’d seen such an array of roadrunners, raccoons, bats, rabbits, owls, squirrels, skunks, ringtails, insects and lizards, the coyote’s daily lunchtime stroll around the campground had come to seem pretty ho-hum.

Today as I look back, 30 years older, I mark that bobcat “howdy” as the moment my internal tectonics shifted. I knew. I had come home to the West.

Prickly Pear ©SR Euston

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