Ode to Arizona

The ice is flowing again on the Mississippi River. Another month and maybe some green will appear. Just a few weeks ago it was below zero and my folks, rightly so, escaped to Tanque Verde, Arizona for a month. Two years ago they flew me in for a week. The snow was still piled high here in Wisconsin and stayed until the first week in May. It was a needed break.

Although I’d visited before, the desert seemed alien to me. It seemed like every plant was hostile to the touch. Where I could walk casually through the woods at home, I had to meticulously chart my path through the desert brush. I learned that duct tape is the best way to remove small cactus spines from skin (thankfully, never had to use it).  Even rubber-soled walking shoes are not impermeable to the Jumping Cholla (dad had to disassemble my shoe and remove it with a pair of pliers). Did you know that Saguaro cactus live over 200 years?

It wasn’t quite spring in the desert yet, not a lot was blooming. I struggled to find “pretty” things to photograph. It took a while to wrap my head around the Sonoran Desert ecosystem. Then, what was hostile, became life persisting. And that’s more than pretty, it’s beautiful.

Add to the discussion