Saturday, July 09, 2005

My walk

I started walking daily about three years ago and there is rarely a day that I miss walking two miles, sometimes more, but always two. Usually my husband comes along but depending on his schedule I often walk alone and love it. It's fun to see what is new in the neighborhood, what house is for sale, who is outside working in the yard or walking or jogging. My path takes me through the back part of the neighborhood, across a little park and then out onto a dusty desert road. Once I get out of the neighborhood, I love seeing the changes that the seasons bring.

I live in the Sonoran desert and though we don't get the traditional seasons, we do have definite changes of nature here. Most people think of a desert as hot, barren and dry. Yes, we are definitely hot much of the year and only receive 12 inches of rainfall annually but our desert is lush with many different plants and animals.

We don't have sand dunes or rocks without vegetation or a landscape devoid of any animals. We have ancient saguaro cactus, prickly pear cactus with beautiful pink blossoms, mountains that really are purple and animals such as coyote and the funny quail with their little topknots bobbing as they usher their puffs of newly hatched babies across the road.

When I walk, I'm not in such a hurry that I can't stop and examine nature a bit. One day I saw a huge tarantula peering out of his hole in the ground, another day a snake slithered past. Thank goodnesss he was the friendly kind. I often see snake tracks cutting across the dirt in the road. Many times I've seen coyote scooting across the road, they are mangy and thin and always run away and not towards me for which I'm grateful. There are rabbits and prairie dogs and usually a lizard or two, sometimes big lizards, sometimes tiny. They all seem to wait in the shade doing pushups during the hot months.

Currently, the weather is hot and dry and we are waiting for our summer monsoons to start. The days must get hot enough to bring the moisture up from Mexico to produce the storms. When they come, they are fierce and the washes flood, and there is lightning and thunder. The mornings start out hot without a cloud in the sky and by the afternoon the clouds have built and the rain comes. It's a much appreciated and much looked forward to time of year.

We also have a winter rainy season and if we get enough rain there are wildflowers everywhere by spring. The Saguaros bloom then too with huge white waxy flowers. They remind me of ladies with new Easter bonnets.

It took me a while to appreciate the beauty of the area. I like the saying "Bloom where you're planted" and decided to adopt that as my motto about a year after we moved here. I missed the place where we used to live with trees so green and tall that you couldn't see the horizon, the change of leaves in the fall and mild snow in the winter. It took me some time to adapt to the desert again (I grew up in Phoenix) but now can't imagine where else I would live. We are four hours from the ocean and 30 minutes from the top of Mt Lemmon which is an 8500 ft mountain that is always cool in the summer and has skiing in the winter. So for now, I'll continue my walks and appreciate my surroundings and give thanks that I can experience such a unique environment.


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