froggy food

This tiny froggy
was hopping in the grass near the trailer and I could not resist catching him and
observing him more closely for a few hours. 
The least I could do in return, since I was probably cutting into prime eating
time, was feed him.   


There were a couple
annoying flies in the trailer…whack…they were as big as he is…but he tries
anyway…classical eyes bigger than stomach. 
After 5+ minutes of mouthing it and flipping it around in various directions
he spits, and I mean spits, it out. 


Need something
smaller.  Best place to look…on shit, of
course, always bugs around shit. Besides, the flowers are pretty much gone for
the season.  Yes indeed, underneath this
pile of dog shit are gobs of these small, curly bodied, flying whatevers…shit
eaters, I guess…and it was easy to harvest a bunch. 


He does not seem
interested. Guess they taste like shit!  
Patience pays off and he eventually snatches one up, but the camera has turned
off by now…what a treat to see him mouth it and swallow it. 


OK tiny guy, have a
great life, as I give his freedom back!  

co cacti

Quite a Wonder this
morning.  As I walked along our favorite
morning (shaded) wash, I noticed along the top edge, one of those Sahuaros that
had its top fall off.  I’ve written about
these before. Often they will spout arms just below the wound and keep on
growing up from the new arm. Fortunately, I really appreciated this particular
topless cactus, and its new arm, as I walked below it, so I noticed something remarkable.  I had to scale the steep side of the wash to
go up and make sure I was seeing correctly.


There was a prickly
pear cactus growing from the ‘bowl’ on the top of the topless Sahuaro.  How did it get there?  The seeds of prickly pear are too big to be
carried by wind.  Some critter that eats
the prickly pear fruit must have shit up there. 
Maybe there was even a bird nest in that penthouse apartment that added
enough organic matter for a plant to actually grow there.  I don’t imagine the prickly pear will ever
get that big.  Not much dirt to send its
roots into.  I’ll keep watching it over
the coming years to see what unfolds.

The rewards of
appreciation are remarkable.  As I look at the blow up of this and appreciate it more I see the great little door on the lower left that leads to another apartment inside the sahuaro and that may be arms sprouting from the lower right and on the third rib from the right…

gifts & challenges

Today would have been my dad’s 79th birthday, so I take time to really, really miss him and know that today there will be gifts from him, gifts & challenges.


I can’t get the image of intertwining snakes (see Equinox Gifts) out of my mind.  It must have some ‘work’ to do on me…this powerful image runs across just about every culture, every continent (except Australia that has its rainbow snake).  The mythological stories vary, but a common theme is the bringing together of opposites into a whole…wow…I could live my life from that image.


As I walked along the crispy brown desert this morning, I was struck with the contrast to two awesome forests that I had the pleasure of visiting this summer, the verdant green of aspen/fir in AZ highlands and rain forest of the Northwest US.  In my mind I see the snake dance (much more complex and beautiful than the simple caduceus symbol) of opposites.  Yet each pole/snake/environment has its gifts and challenges.  Gifts versus challenges, also opposites, exist within the opposites… on and on down to the subatomic particle with opposite spin that make up this universe… and beyond to what we don’t even know yet.  This intertwining of opposites is a fundamental theme, fractal, principal of this Place.  Challenged Desert and gifted Forest or gifted Desert and challenged Forest?  It turns out the lack in Desert is a good place to see appreciation.


An example is this webbing that is totally covering the outer edges of the Palo Verde trees.  I don’t know if it has been there for months or the low sun angle of fall is just now exaggerating its presence.  At first I think it looks harmful and ugly, but then I move in to appreciate, see the Wonder and beauty.  A pole may appear to be holding ugly/want, but deeper seeing may reveal the beauty/abundance within.   Are those dark particles in the webbing the eggs of the next generation or shit?   Who is the web weaving/inhabiting creature?  I don’t see them, but their web is abundant.  Are they like my sons generation, web weaving inhabiting creatures, you don’t see except by their presence in the web…lol?


What is there left to do but search the web…and find palo verde webworm, a twirler moth, and I have to love another metamorph!  More info:


and find that it IS shit…of course it is!

I am excited because I think I know the identity of the moth that patiently posed in various lighting conditions until I got a good shot.  I guess the moths in the desert are deprived and not as hopped up on nectar as the ones in the forest that never stay in one place long enough for me to even get my camera in my hand.  Nope, it’s not the tiny ¼ inch webworm moth, this dark beauty is a good two inches long.  Would you believe, Funereal Duskywing?  A funeral to celebrate a death/life…

And in the process of dancing through the web I find

and think I may join that network if I am natural enough…many gifts, many challenges…


Equinox Gift

Wanted to share my equinox gift!


In the middle of the wash, just now, two black tailed rattle snakes mating, or pre-mating…these were not as big or old as the one I recently posted.  The male was more brightly colored and doing the head rubbing thing that was mentioned in the link I recently gave you.  He was twitching his tail and she occasionally would ‘try to get away’, but he would just go wrap himself around her again.  I watched for about 10 minutes, then he just upped and slithered away into the shade and brush, maybe got shy…lol…ahh, good tactic, a few minutes later she takes off after him and they disappeared into deep brush and I thought I would leave them. 


My research yields little and inconsistent information.  This mating behavior can go on for days.  Most sources say this type of rattler only mates in the spring, well NOT.  One site said some female will mate twice a year.  I find a wide range of gestation times, from 4-7 months, so likely these babies will be born live next spring.  Then the remarkable thing about this species, she will protect her young for days before they start an independent life.


A very good omen, for these beauties to conceive on this special day, and for me to take this image and metaphor into the fall season.  Transmutation (=snake) conceiving new life. 

feeling flow

There has been so much rain up in the mountain that the lake is 1-2 feet higher than usual and the feeder streams are canoeable.  We got within 20 feet of a gaggle of Canadian geese that hang out on the north feeder.  It was awesome when they decided we had gotten too close and all 40+ took off flapping their 10 foot wing span all around us.  You could feel the wind flows that they were creating with all those big wings.


Our canoe is 17’ and some of the turns were very tight, more than hairpins.  When we had gotten as far as we could go, it was really cool to feel the difference in paddling against the stream and LETTING GO and floating and steering downstream.  What a palpable lesson in going with the flow.  Oh I want to savor that!


Speaking of flow, I SAW yesterday in a new way how flow changes with time.  There are parts of the White River that I have been walking/wading for over a decade that are hardly recognizable.  It appears that most of the shift is caused by groupings of large douglas firs that have toppled over into/across the river and changed its course.  New islands & new waterfalls & new ponds & new crossings exist.  Once the trees disintegrate, it will all change again.  I’m going to use this as a model of and encouragement to make significant changes in my life.  What are my big, old trees that need to fall?


With this much moisture the fungi are flourishing and here are some pictures of their unusual beauty.  I love that they mostly grow on fallen/falling trees and on SHIT.


Taking my hands off the tiller….

out of memory

My camera tells me I am out of memory…yes indeed; I am completely here & NOW.


What I really need is a video camera to capture the soaring freedom of this osprey.  She carried my heart with her even though my eyes were still in my head.  Playing on the wind, seeing/feeling it in a way that they become one, she is truly in the flow and has a very broad perspective…ahhh. 


I eat sardines for lunch to mimic her meal of lake trout.


Could not capture her, but here are some others that take flight around here, including my favorite summer subject, looking right in the camera as it beeps to focus.

the closest he has let me get all season

this bee has to be part teddy bear

kingfisher takes off

my summer love

rose hips and long tailed bug

crow party

Wonder Way

Filled with Wonder at the everyday, that is the Way.

This green spider let itself down on its web to visit while I was trimming some vines.  We stared at each other in wonder.  Then it just effortlessly ascended on the web, though it looked to be flying.

This tarantula looks wet, huh?  It was in the hot tub, but we got it out in time.  Wonder how long they can be under water?  A few hours later it had walked away.


I live in an ocotillo forest.  I always wondered what a baby ocotillo looked like, since they are always so full and tall.  This one, luckily, caught my attention right by the edge of the road.  It is about 5-6″ tall.


I am always filled with wonder when I see structural patterns, fractal, appear across species.  This fractal is the same in this little fly and in yesterdays black tailed rattle snake.  They say you can tell the approximate age of a rattler by counting rattles, but you can see that some have broken off of this giant’s assembly and we will have to be content with wondering about its age.


In case I have piqued your sense of wonder about the black tails, check out the awesome video of a weeklong tryst between this pair.