Friday, October 5, 2012

Morning Sun Saguaro

The sun rising in the Southeast this morning.

I like to imagine that life is like the rising sun, we always have a chance to change our lives and start over again, to follow new paths or to see things in a new way. The rising sun is the image I am keeping in my mind for the way I want to live my life, I want to see things as if seeing them for the first time, with wonder and joy, as if every sunrise is the first one I have experienced. The world is so beautiful and when I see things in this way, I feel good inside, as if I am the wonders I see in the world, as if I am a part of each colorful butterfly fluttering in the wind. I hope to always have butterflies in my soul and saguaros standing tall above my head in their wisdom.

I look up to the Saguaro.

This Saguaro is nearly 100 years old. I stand here thinking of all the things this plant has witnessed, how many sunrises and sunsets, how many lives born and ended within its vision and yet here it stands. It has tough skin and strong thorns that cause pain if one bumps into them. Standing here, I hear the song of the Saguaro as the wind gently blows past the ribs and spines. I touch the green flesh of the Saguaro and it feels like skin. I wish I had a friend that would stand by me like the Saguaro. These days the Saguaro and the butterflies have been my only friends. Oh, but it doesn't matter, I don't think I am fit to live in the human world. I think I'll spend days in the company of my wild friends. Maybe some day in the future someone will touch me the way I touch the skin of the Saguaro, with respect and love. I can feel the life of the Saguaro beneath its tough skin, as if it has a heart beating somewhere within. I have spent many hot summer hours in the shade of a Saguaro, resting from the heat of the day, and I have eaten their sweet fruit. I have bonded with these giant cactus. I love to hear each individual song as the wind plays through the sharp spines. Once I found three giant Saguaros growing together, the wind created a harmony of sound, each Saguaro played a different note. I sat down and listened. I think it is time to listen to the song of the Saguaro.

Written & photographed 10/5/2010

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pincushion Summer

So it rained two weeks ago three times, big short storms with lightning and pouring rain.  All the low spots in my garden filled with water and the washes were full.

These days of summer rains are when the gods walk in the desert lands.  If you have ever been out in the desert when a sudden storm comes along seemingly out of nowhere and you have nowhere to go except to endure the rain you will know exactly what I mean.  The gods walk in the desert when it rains.

The Pincushion cactus always flowers shortly after the rain in the summer, and sure enough, they did this time as well.

It has been so dry this past year that even many of the cactus and tough desert shrubs are dying, but not the Pincushions.  I admire their hardiness and their ability to flower at short notice. 

I think there is a message in this, the Pincushion Cactus is a wise teacher.

Enjoy the rains when they fall, enjoy the moments in our life when happiness and joy find us.  Endure through the drought, but don't let the long drought stop us from feeling the joy when those moments arrive.  This is how my life is in the last ten years, a never ending cycle of bad times and short periods of such grand joy that I feel like bursting with flowers, too.

I think I turned into a cactus and didn't realize it.

When I look closely at the Pincushion, I see myself as if in a mirror.

I'm waiting for the joy to come raining down, I know it will come again.  And when it does, you will recognize it by the ring of bright flowers sprouting from my head.

No wonder why I am so quick to smile when I am happy.

I'm a Pincushion Cactus.

Note:  Photos are of flowers from this land I call my garden, there are so many of them, probably hundreds of these little cactus sheltered under the shrubs and trees on this one little plot of land.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Rattlesnake

The rattlesnakes are out. Last week I saw the first rattlesnake of the year, he was nervous and afraid, like they always are when they first emerge in the spring.

I stood about twenty feet away and talked to him in a calm voice. I apologized for disturbing him. I didn't leave until he calmed down because I know I will run into him again, I don't want him to remember me with fear.
Rattlesnakes are respectful beings and only rattle so that you know they are there, but I like to be on the friendly side with them anyway. I've noticed that since I started talking to the Rattlesnakes that they are much calmer around me, and usually just rattle for a second so I see them and then they go on with whatever they were doing before. Hopefully this will be the only time he thinks he needs to coil up and prepare to strike when he sees me.

Here he is after I talked to him and he realized I didn't mean harm.

I am happy to have Rattlesnakes in my life, they have much to teach about living.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Flying North (to fight evil)

Leaving to go on a journey
I put a feather in my hair
a gift from Hawk
two small braids for grounding

Coyote crosses my path
wild luck is on my side
Hawk flies low in front of me
welcoming the sky

Tailwind pushes me forward
Dancing Ladies sway in the wind

I wonder if I have brought the wind
By placing a feather in my hair

Raven speaks
“No, the wind came on its own
you belong to the wind like us”

Hawk hovered in stronger winds
“Let the wind hold you up like this”

Ahead a mountain rises from the earth
I climb, elevation increasing
today the wind comes from the southwest
I fly on the wings of spring
flowers will follow

Lands of juniper
lands of pine
sulfur, salt, snow and sky
I soar over the tallest peak
near the river of red rock
I land in the arms of life
drink the earth’s pure spring water
fully alive

Hawk is once again
watching over me
Raven flies
by my side

Images copywrite Desert Dreamer.

Friday, March 2, 2012

First Spring in the Sonoran Desert

Notice I said "first", that is because this is only the first wave of Spring flowers, more are on their way.

I went wandering in the desert not following any human path, but rather the path of wildlife and my own inner urgings.

Here is a view near the beginning of my wanderings.

Below is the first open Lupine flower I saw (Coulter's Lupine - Lupinus sparsiflorus). Now, a few weeks later, there are fields of Lupine, but this first view of an open flower is my favorite. Lupine is a poisonous plant, especially the seeds...I like knowing this kind of information. While I walked I snacked on wild greens...not including Lupine.

The next flower is a new one for me. I have seen the plants but never the flowers. I smelled them long before I saw any flowers. They smell sweet with a hint of a vanilla fragrance. Rose Bladderpod (Lesquirella purpurea) is a beautiful perennial flower, and now my favorite white wildflower. This plant is one of the many flowering mustards, and was so beautiful I couldn't get myself to taste the leaves, which I normally do when seeing mustard plants. I love the spicy taste of mustard leaves, but I only ate the more common mustards during my walk.
I let the mustard plants grow in my garden and eat lots of them, they taste delicious in soup or on a salad. Most people call them weeds and pull them up. I eat them instead, leaving the flowers to turn into seeds for next year's crop.

I love Penstemon flowers and always have a special place in my heart full of memories for Penstemons. This specific Penstemon is special because I rarely see them out in the desert. Usually I see Parry's Penstemon with pink flowers, but this time I found one small area full of Penstemon subulatus. A common name for this flower is Arizona Scarlet-bugler or Hackberry Beardtongue, but I call it by it's botanical name, as I do for all the Penstemons. This one is a hummingbird favorite and I have one growing in my garden but it isn't as beautiful as this. The background thorny Ocotillo makes this a perfect place to live for a Penstemon.

Desert Ferns are fascinating to me. I love finding them and hope someday to photograph all of them. Here is Spiny Cliff Brake (Pellaea truncata). Ferns are wonderful for cleaning polluted soil and air, this is why they make great houseplants. I wonder if I could grow a desert fern in my house...a wonderful idea that I thought of while typing this. Ferns absorb arsenic from the soil and are useful in healing toxic soil. Young fern fronds, called Fiddleheads (I love that name!) are edible, too. I suppose that one must be careful not to eat ferns that grow in toxic soil since they absorb heavy metals. I don't know if this specific fern is edible though. I think ferns are great for nutrition but should be eaten in small quantities due to their high mineral content. I'm hungry now...steamed Fiddleheads, mmmm, but not this one, must look for proper curled Fiddleheads.

The giants of the desert (Saguaro Cactus) always look great in a photograph...I like looking up at them best for photographs.

Another beautiful mustard flower that I saw in flower for the first time. I love the delicate little flower stem with white flowers that turn to purple as they fade. I didn't taste this mustard either, not common enough for tasting. Below is Stiffarm Rock Cress (Arabis perennans). I am hoping to go back and collect a few seeds to spread in my garden. Mustard seeds are tiny and most mustards make lots of seeds. I may at least go back and help the seeds find good places to grow, even if I don't bring any back to my garden.

When I arrived at the top of a hill, I looked back to the place where I live. My house is just out of view of this photo. It takes my breath away. I feel lucky to live here.

The clouds thickened as I walked, and all the Mexican Gold Poppies closed. I took a photo of one and found it inspirational.

Single gold Poppy
closing because of the clouds
Where is the sunshine?
The desert is covered with a green carpet right now, and the cactus spines shine like a cactus-aura when the sun is low in the sky. Almost everything has thorns of course.

I can't resist the Fairy Duster flowers, it is like a pure desert smile.

I enjoyed seeing these two Saguaro locked so closely in an embrace that they appear as one cactus. A reminder to embrace the beauty that we see around us, whatever that may be. These giant cactus are one of the best teachers here in the Sonoran Desert.

I saw a strange Barrel Cactus, with five tops, like a five headed monster. This means five times the cactus fruit, a feast for the birds. I saw signs of a cactus fruit feast all around this cactus. This one area is like an entire world. I felt myself fill with love for this place when I stood beside this thorny desert being.

Everywhere I go, I carry the desert with me...not just this perfect (to me) desert called the Sonoran Desert, but also my childhood desert, the Red Sandstone deserts in the north. Today, my head is full of flowers and thorns, it is a perfect combination.

Flowers and thorns, life is best when I have them both.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Break the Chains - A poem

Painting by Mike Worrall

Break the Chains

On a pedestal
captured in a maze
goddess sits with eyes closed
deep healing sounds of the cello soar
nature lies beyond this entrapment

lost in the turnings
trapped souls lost
search for meaning

she sings

in the song are secrets
needed for escape
from these boundaries

hear her song
breaking civilization's chains

Copywrite DesertDreamer

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is My Planet Too - A Poem

An image I created based on a photo of my shadow.

This is My Planet Too
Poem based on an Interview with Derrick Jensen.

Impending collapse
car culture running out of oil
nowhere to retreat
living in an abstract society
few have real life skills
are we doomed?

Collective denial
environmental crisis
on the news we hear instead
latest fashion
celebrity gossip
corporations control the planet
and you want to talk about sports?

Culture based on destroying the land
culture based on using up non renewable resources
culture based on a lie
the earth is a finite place
a life based on infinite resources cannot last
and you sit here watching a "reality" show
did you learn about reality?

The system is rigged against those who love the land
against those who care about future life
when environmentalists use an existing law to stop the destruction
the laws are changed by those in power
what meaning are laws if they are changed when convenient?

we live in a destructive culture
we live in a blind culture
to quiet us they feed us bright green lies
telling us solar panels and windmills
will bring relief to the environmental crisis
Did you see the open pit mine?

We will need more of those pits in order to build the structures
blow up all the mountains to sake your thirst for power
is that better than a polluted sky?
do you like the world better without its surface beauty?
do you like the taste of contaminated water?

If you lived on your own planet I wouldn't care
but this is my planet, too
there are trees, bees, butterflies
flowers, birds, elephants
do all the living things need to sacrifice their home
so you can turn on your lights?

We have to stop killing the planet
We have to find another way to live
or we won't be living at all.

Copyright Desert Dreamer