Tuesday, March 20, 2012

THE TREE OF LIFE


When I first visited the desert, I just didn't see any life there.  It was a hot day, there was a lot of sand, even the buzzards seemed a little put out by the heat and the fact that nothing new had died out there, most likely, since the last time they looked, because nothing would have ventured out there in the first place. 

But it wasn't long before I learned that the desert is just magnificently alive!  It might be sleeping through the midday sun onslaught, but there is life out there. 

Besides the animals that call the Sonora Desert home, there are a multitude of flowers.  If anything, the colors are more vibrant than anywhere else.  Yellow is truly yellow, green is truly green, red is amazingly alive-looking, like the blood that flows through our veins; and the mountains ringing the desert?  Just look at those!  Created by a true artist!  We can't make this up.  The beauty is breathtaking! 

I have trekked around in the desert of Arizona several times now, and every time is different.  Every time it seems as though my eyes have opened a little wider, my heart grown a little more full, and instead of aging forward, the child comes out in me and gives me 3-D viewing I seemed to be losing in the day-to-day battle to survive the stress of life. 

There it is, though.  There is what the child's mind sees, all 3-D and beautiful, and mysterious.  It's coming back to me now. 




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Monday, March 19, 2012

SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN THE SONORA DESERT WETLANDS

There is life in the desert.  We don't realize it when our day is used up busily trying to drive through it in order to get to the next job, or when we are pulling a U-Haul trailer while making a life-changing move; but when we slow down and get out of the car and look around, when we have friends willing to drive us out into the desert on a peaceful weekend, to places they know well, the beauty becomes quite noticeable.  

Yesterday, my cousin Tracy and my friend Nancy, wanted to show me the "wetlands."  There is an oxymoron if ever I heard one, and my expectations were not very high.  Then, Nancy parked and pointed to a dead tree.  I glanced at the tree thinking, "Yep, this is about what I expected from the Sonora Desert Wetlands."  My eyes traveled up, up, up, and there, in the very top of the tree were huge nests.  Sitting in and around those nests, sentinels of the brood, were huge blue herons protecting their young.  

Now, as God is my witness, I never thought herons nested in trees.  I especially never thought they nested in dead trees in the desert, because in my part of the country, I see them sitting around playing chess by rivers and flood waters and such.  

The herons were just the tip of the iceberg.  They were beautiful, majestic!  They let us take many photos, but if we wandered too close to their nesting tree, one of them would take flight, circle around, then go back to the same stance, eagle eyes (forgive the pun) trained on us.  

As we walked further into the area, which we could do because someone is organized enough to have ordered a permit (it would have done no good for any of us to end up in the chain gang because we are really not very big women) the marshes with huge green reeds hid ducks and red-winged blackbirds, and further back, behind a fence our permit did not allow us to cross, a huge body of water where we could see all kinds of birds in their natural habitats.  There were snowy egrets, ducks, herons, pelicans, and probably just about every species of common bird we know from our yards.  It was breathtaking. 

Every time I come to Phoenix, I think I probably have seen it all, but that's just not possible.  I am already anticipating what the girls might have found to show me next time!