Saturday, August 29, 2009

Strange beauty

Southeast Arizona. Desert plains and mountains of mesquite and towering Saguaro cactus, almost frightening blue sky, relentless sun, puffs of white cloud that rise up into the sky, blush-bottomed as the light reflects up off the russet-colored mountains. The clouds promise rain, but it's just an illusion. They dissipate and leave that searing blue sky again. How can anything live in this beautiful hell? But the desert is alive. Cactus wren build their nests amongst the thorns of the Saguaro. Canyon wren dart out of the shaded crevices between boulders. Where there are trees, they're filled with tiny migrating warblers of every shade of yellow. Clouds of tiny chickadees dot the branches like Christmas tree ornaments. Hawks and turkey vultures circle high above the stark outline of the mountains, and I feel like I'm in a classic Western.

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