A seldom recalled fact (except by me) is that for three years in mid-1960s, I wrote the column “Milford High School News” for The Milford Times in Milford, Michigan. Through my teen years, I also wrote articles for other junior and senior high school publications. I mention this here because the title of this post reminds me of high school verbiage: you know, “Roses and Cabbages” or something. If I remember my columns accurately, I used plenty of passive voice, such as, ” the French Club had their spring dinner and a good time was had by all.” I want now to write about the hikes Tom and I have taken, the clear skies north of Sierra Vista, the kangaroo rat that jumped into our camper shell on a dark night, the Arizona sycamores, and much more.
However, I haven’t been able to clear my mind sufficiently to write because, when I have access to the internet, I keep taking looks at my Facebook feed, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and then I fret instead of write. We have so many problems: the attempted Muslim ban, the environment, the judiciary, the wall, women’s rights, and deranged tweets about Saturday Night Live, for god’s sake. I need to focus on what I know: There is truth and there is beauty (AKA facts and photos) and I am striving to hold onto both.
Facts I learned
- It is generally agreed that there are four distinct desert regions in North America: Chihuahuan, Sonoran, Mojave, and Great Basin. Arizona claims to be the only state that contains parts of all four deserts (for more information, see the article from The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum).
- “By the time Big Bend National Park was established in 1944, there were virtually no resident bears in the Big Bend area.” However, in recent decades black bears have returned and there are approximately 8 to 12 adult bears living in the park now. (for more information, see Black Bears in Big Bend).
- “The San Pedro River [near Sierra Vista, Arizona] is one of the last free flowing rivers in the Southwest. In 1995, the American Bird Conservancy recognized the San Pedro as its first ‘globally important bird area’ in the the United States, dubbing it the ‘largest and best example of riparian woodland remaining’ in the Southwest–from a brochure of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.”
- The Arizona sycamore (Platanus wrightii) grows in the Sonoran desert “in riparian washes and canyon bottoms between 2,000 and 6,000 feet in elevation in Arizona, New Mexico and northwestern old Mexico” (see Arizona State University online publication for more information).
Photos I took
Arizona sycamore (Platanus wrightii), Ramsey Canyon Preserve
American kestrel (Falco sparverius), Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tom among the sacaton ( Sporobolus airoides), San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
birds (I don’t know their names), San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
sunset, Joshua Tree National Park
I see turmoil, anger, confusion, and sadness in our public life now. I saw a great deal of scat on the desert trails where Tom and I walked. I am an organic gardener, so I know that scat and other organic debris enriches the soil so beautiful plants can grow. I am going with that: We have scat now, but beautiful flowers will bloom, I do believe.
scat, Murray Springs Clovis Site, Arizona
brittlebush (Encelia farinosa), Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum