Monday, April 14, 2014

Phoenix 2014 - Cactus Flower

There are some who view the desert as barren and ugly. I am not one of those. To me the desert contains a beauty that is defined by it's austerity. It wears it's beauty with a confidence that verges on haughtiness. Unlike the lushness of a forest or the spectacular sight of majestic mountains the desert demands that you observe it's details.

The tiny speckled lizard moving along the rocky ground, it's mottled skin providing excellent camouflage, it's cold blood allowing it to survive in the searing heat of an Arizona summer. The brown desert hare's coloring makes the little creature believe it can escape detection yet still sometimes makes a tasty meal for the roaming coyote or the hawk floating overhead displaying it's formidable wingspan.

Desert flowers do not come in fields but punctuate the sand and dry dirt with small bursts of color. When conditions are right  tiny blossoms appear on the tops of barrel cactus as the prickly pear displays it's delicately shaded pink fruit. There are the saguaros, the elders of this landscape. I have been told that it takes 60 years for a bud to form which will eventually grow into one of the plants trademark arms. The precious resource of water in these arid conditions make it necessary that these giants grow apart from one another. On hillsides they appear alone, isolated like hermit sages pondering life with the wisdom that can accompany immense age.

The terrain reveals almost imponderable history. Plates of the earth collide creating mountains. Over eons their hard rock summits, eroded by sand and wind, are sculpted into other worldly creations of cracks, crags and crevices. Where rivers cut deep canyons into the rock striations of color can be experienced. Each stripe represents a different era of existence. The crushed remains of creatures that inhabited the area when it was a sea. The mud as the sea dried. History as told by a horizontal rainbow.

Despite it's vastness the desert cannot be viewed as a big picture. To fully appreciate it you have to observe the details.

1 comment:

  1. Right now it's all in bloom and wracking havoc on my allergies. Phooey.