another planet

Having spent the last 6 days on the south shore of Lake Michigan, I feel, now that I am back in the Desert, that I am enjoying pretending that I have been on another planet. That other planet was blinding white, frigid zero degrees (without the wind chill), flat, bare trees and gnarly forms, no vistas, noisy with trains and industry, seemingly unsurvivable. Here, green, mild, sunny, inviting, quiet, 20 mile vistas and mountains all around. Both have extreme beauty right now, only in jarring contrast to each other, hopefully training me to have broader and wider appreciation of all things. Only my phone camera…so limited photographic ability, but here are a few special scenes:op3

op2this is the beach at lake Michigan, frozen waves to the right and the beach looking like fudge ripple ice cream.

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op12my friends awesome turkey boy…just had to get him in…!

feeling free

There are now 7 different types of flowers appeared to announce spring. Everyday a new one joins the party. I expect a Lupine any day because I see its leaves everywhere. They start as a miniature version of their lovely shape (pic of one smaller than a fingernail) and grow to the size of my palm. I pretend I am a cosmic giant and walking through star fields of a galaxy when I find one of those southeast facing slopes that they favor and cover.

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A very unusual thing happened yesterday. When I am ‘in town’ driving and running errands I seldom see anything of beauty, mostly ugliness…but in front of me was a couple on a big ass motorcycle all in their leathers, she with foot long fringe everywhere and he with gorgeous long white hair in a braid down his back. When they were moving, her fringe flowed with utter sweetness behind and I thought they were a marvelous portrait of FREEDOM. I pulled up next to them and was trying to take a pic with my phone camera (yes, it was stupid and not safe, but I felt like I had to capture that). She was shrugging and gesturing, like- what ARE you doing?-, and all I could do was give her a ‘thumbs up’ as they speeded off. The best of the pics does not in the least bit capture what I saw, but I was very delighted to be so delighted while driving/running errands and felt this was a significant happening.

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Last is my red cross made of filaree bursting to commemorate the start of lent today.

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hidden beauty

Hidden hugging the ground, a casual gaze would not have found this juicy delight. They will only look like this a few days than go to green. Storksbill Filaree (erodium cicutarium) is in the geranium family and has an added bonus of having a fragrance and edible leaves, like strong parsley. Another special feature is that the ‘beak’ spirals as it dries and that action/motion helps drive it into the soil and it plants itself, truly amazing. It is considered to be a non-native plant and thought to have come from the Old World in wheat or barley grain shipments in the 1700s.

I could not narrow down from the 80+ pictures to any more than the 8 below and am saving a special one to post on Ash Wednesday in a few days.  Enjoy the lovely forms along with the juicy color and notice the spiraling seed on the forth pic.

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jojoba sex

The desert is really starting to bloom. Most flowers will be colorful and obvious, but the jojoba’s reproductive parts stay in the green range, are usually small and simple. What is most interesting though, is that they are one of the few flowering plants that have the sexes on different plants, male plants and female plants. Right now it looks as though the males outnumber the females 3 to 1, but on closer inspection, that is not true. There is more pollen spewing equipment and it is brighter colored, larger, and a more intricate design. The seed nurturing equipment is barely distinguishable from the leaves. So you notice the male plants, all bright and fuzzy, and not the females; they are there in equal number.

jojo3female ‘equipment’

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female plant

jojo5male ‘equipment’

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male plant

It makes me realize a parallel in the appearance of the global situation. The showy aggressive stuff gets all the attention, press, and coverage. We hardly ever hear about the sweetness and caring that is going on all around us every day. So it often seems to me that it is all going to crap, but it is just that there is not a balance in the news I get, it is biased to the sensational. I don’t ‘do’ facebook, but I have noticed when I look at my husband’s page, there are lots of wonderful postings and stories. So as individuals, we have to take responsibility for telling, promoting, and living the ‘compassionate’ stories to/with each other in our simple everyday lives, and just let the corporations continue to do what they are going to do, ‘make money’ at any cost…

jojo2not sure who is building this lovely hole of a home, but the form is mind blowing

jojo1moss!  yeah, big deal to those in wet climates, haha…but the shape reminds me of a dragon flying.

jojo7more hummingbird food and another shape from heaven.

Hoping that today you will notice more of the forms all around, both the obvious and the seemingly hidden!

and i am so, so happy…even thought it is Friday the 13th, I just stumbled upon a way to enlarge all the photos….I had tried many, many time to figure it out and it just appeared today!

amethyst savior

It had been a rough week and even the First Flower several days ago, followed by the quick emergence of dozens and dozens of other hyacinth could not lift me above my mire. I was sitting in the yard in the lovely morning warmth and sun, trying to quiet all the conversations that were going on in my head and feeling overwhelmed. Here appears this beautiful male Costa’s Hummingbird and he hovers 2 feet from my face and I have on greys and blacks, matching my mood, so he is not attracted to any color I am displaying. He looks me over and hangs in mid-air for 4-5 incredible seconds and seems to say, “ don’t be so forlorn…look here at all the gorgeous purple jewels all over my head and neck…” and he looks me in the eye and moves his head ever so slightly back a forth to show off all those amethyst sparkles.

costas2First Flower

Yes, I had kinda noticed, through my haze, his arrival a few days ago. I am pretty sure he is the same guy who has warm weathered here the last couple years and perches in this ocotillo just off the patio and zooms round and round my two story house like a maniac making this high pitch buzz that delights the shit out of me. Can it be the same bird? I am surprised to read that hummingbirds usually live 4-5 years, despite their incredibly high metabolic rates and have been known to live 11-12 years in the wild. I am grateful for the scarlet funnels all over the yard, now that I notice, they have emerged too, aloe vera and chuparosa.

costas4scarlet food

I am in deep gratitude that he has chosen to live here and has returned to brighten my life.

costas1this pic is lame, but i’ll keep trying to get him at his best

costas3ocotillo leaves emerging amongst the spider webs

as useful as a Sahuaro

It has been a rough 6 months, and it is not just me, huh? A friend who is a painter said recently that she finally “had gotten her mojo back”. Well I am still looking/waiting for my mojo, but did get an inspiration on the walk this morning and thought I could get it together to write something short….

We visited this grouping of Sahuaros, an intimate cluster I call the grandmothers or the sisters. Several look as if they will not be standing much longer, one leaning, one with more than half of its roots exposed on the edge of the wash. They are all just loaded with bird houses (you can see all the holes in the sides of their loving arms here) and have probably seen thousands of eggs hatch over their probable hundred years of existence. Not to mention all the sustenance they provide to many desert creatures with their summer fruits, many truckloads over the years, and nectar to the bats from their flowers. And where-oh-where would the birds perch up high to SEE if not for them? And when they fall they will continue for years to provide for a whole other group of living organisms, the bacteria and insects that feast on the remains. Magnificent providers!

May I be as useful as a Sahuaro!

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useful1the magical sunrise the other day above the clouds in Heaven

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