"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Arizona: The Journey Continues

Yes, I am here in the desert and am amazed at the multitude of differences between this land and the prairie where I live. This picture is not a random, perfect desert shot at all, it is the look of the place any way you turn. This shot happens to be of the view from the Desert Museum but the land in the city itself if the same. Apparently it is illegal to remove these tall, armed Saguro Cactus; there are fines for hurting them and a crew that comes out removes them safely to another location if they need to be moved. These cactus grow straight up and birds dig holes in them (you can see what look like black dots going up the central trunk) and it is from these wounds that the arms begin to grow. Each on is different and in the Saguaro National Park they rise like a forest from the sand and brush at their feet. I couldn't help but think of those people who try to cross the southern border and make their way through this desert full of poisonous creatures, plants that rip the flesh and a searing sun. They must be desperate indeed to attempt such a crossing. This little guy is known as the 'jumping joya' or the Teddy Bear Cactus. When any creature walks too close, its spines seem to almost jump onto them, so ready are they to break from the mother plant. Most of the plants here have large thorns and require one to keep their distance. However, their blossoms seem to be made of silk, painted in the vibrant, burning colors of the sunset.

The Desert Museum is a combination of a zoo, spotlighting the creatures who inhabit the desert, and a field trip through the desert. There are many strategically placed buildings into which you can step and cool off in the shade while watching lizards, snakes, bobcats and wolves. There is also a hummingbird house, much like the butterfly house I visited in STL this spring. The tiny dancers zip around you or hover right before your eyes but are difficult to catch on film.

We were drawn to the noise of the bird cage where doves, Arizona quail (yes, the ones with the topknot), ducks, and many other species of birds sang and sang to others, just outside the wires. I admit, it made me sad to see them trapped within where, although safe, they were not free. You know how I love birdsong; this place was heavenly for me. I loved this sandy paradise, full of skittering, hidden life and the thin reaching arms of the desert plants. Here are my friend Christal and I, posing just outside the reptile house.

I'm off for now. Tomorrow I will write some more about this city where the people seem incredibly friendly, even if the plant life is anything but that. TTFN

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