The Sonoran Desert has been my backyard playground all of my life. I have walked barefoot in it, slept under the stars & witnessed incredible sunrises in it, have built forts & sung campfire songs in it, meditated & prayed in it, attended high school boondockers in it, had my first kiss in it, sunbathed in it, continue to enjoy hikes in it and will forever work hard to protect & preserve it!
The desert landscape holds a different type of beauty … a sharp contrast to evergreen foliage. There is a subtle & strong softness here… it is truly magical! After a rain, the aroma of the ancient Creosote Bush takes my breath away! Palo Verde trees, with yellow spring blooms and the Ironwood trees with soft lavender blooms, sprinkle their subtle colors about. The over 50 species of cacti are a sight, especially when in bloom! The Ocotillo, Prickly Pear, Organ Pipe, Cholla, and Barrel are but a few.
Then there are the mighty Saguaro, the movie star of cacti. This studly cactus is popular in photo shoots and known as a “must see” for visitors. I believe this handsome species would hand out autographs if possible…I know a good agent! I stand beneath these gentle giants just to feel the strength and energy that radiates from their strong arms. Impressive they are, growing up to forty feet tall and living 100-200 years. They have one main root that grows straight down to find water and other roots that grow far and wide as the cactus is tall. Rightly so, the state flower of Arizona is the Saguaro Cactus Flower. In May and June the cacti look like royalty as the white flower blooms sit like crowns on the majestic arms of this mighty desert dweller.
There are also many interesting critters that live here among all of this desert beauty. The sweet, wide-eyed Cottontail Rabbits, the regal Quail wearing their fancy headdresses, the wiley Coyotes, the speedy Roadrunners, the soft and gentle Doves, the salty Gila Monsters and the fanged Rattlesnakes, are some of the many desert residents. I have always been amazed that it took 54 years before I had an encounter with a live, coiled, rattler… I am fine if that is my one and only meeting!
The desert definitely dresses to impress. It is subtle, soft, bold, sophisticated and strong all at the same time. It is a place of incredible beauty! It will forever be my happy place…a place where I gather strength, find peace, rejuvenate … it is desert love! Do you love the desert ….what do you enjoy the most about this magical place?