Friday, December 28, 2012

Extraordinary everyday life in Tucson

Before we left New York State and a good life we had gotten accustomed to, I imagined that once we hit the road, nothing would be ordinary again.

Maybe a Harris hawk nest?
But, things do get ordinary. We still have to put off doing laundry. It's important to grumble about washing dishes. Cats continue to place Craigslist personal ads while we sleep.

This one wild and precious life! Some days I'm awake enough to know none of this is ordinary. Not my life, and not yours.

I went out poking around in the desert.

You often see young saguaros thriving in the company of shrubs, usually mesquite and creosote.

They need the shade of these "nurses" to get their start. Then, like that wretched boy in The Giving Tree, the saguaro demands the ultimate sacrifice. 

The desert is harsh.

This bush was just lucky. Not so this cactus, who started being teased at the age of twelve.


I've heard people say that the desert is desolate. The Sonoran Desert is anything but desolate. We love it here. The saguaros are always saying something ridiculous.

Cactus wren nest in "jumping" cholla
These cacti don't actually jump. They do separate easily from the mother bush and follow any warm body home. They weren't in the mood to separate this day, since I brushed up against one and am here to type the tale. If you get a baby stuck to you, don't grab it. Work a comb or a pen between your skin and the cactus bit and PULL. It will hurt, I'm pretty sure. If you grab it, it will hurt extra.

Cholla has-been. 
A Barrel of Fun!™

I think this indicates the land was once BLM land. Now? I don't know. There isn't any signage. Maybe that's why the cacti are always waving their arms. Hey you kids, get off my lawn!


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bhikkhu john said...

Extraordinary photos. You must have the life.

kcgaz said...

I agree, we lead an extraordinary life for sure!

Grace said...

How did you know about what happened when I was 12?

You are so "right on" with all your cactus information... one would think you are a desert old soul.

Happy New Year!
Grace (in Tucson)

Rebecca said...

OMG, you're Mary Oliver fans! I knew I liked you two. :-D

Sherry said...

Me too!! Recognized the quote immediately. You literary illusion dropper you. That bloomin' cactus is a beauty. Sounds like Tucson's got a hold on you.

The Odd Essay said...

You show in your photos exactly why I love the desert so much... and your "captions" add just the right thought or humor. Very Nice!

Kimbopolo said...


Soaring Sun said...

Saguaros have great individuality and personality. I like to name them. Do you?

Nancy said...

You ladies just "rawk", that's all. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Excellent photos! Saguaro are so cool and I couldn't agree with you more about the desert being full of color & life. People in Wisconsin don't seem to get our fascination with the Southwest ("It's so dull and drab", they say!). There's pretty much only white & brown with a little green thrown in here & there around here for half the year, which to me is dull & drab!

Lisa said...

I am ready to get back to the desert. Thanks for the little taste of what is ahead of me!

Jim and Sandie said...

I do so love the desert. The saguaro's are magnificent. But I really, really, really like that cloud picture.

Blars said...

Probably still BLM land. BLM isn't good about posting/maintaining signs everywhere. The local BLM office could tell you, or you could buy "surface management" maps from them for $4 each. Yuma BLM did not have Tucson or Phonix maps.

intrepid-decrepit-traveler said...

The Sonoran Desert sure has New York State beat all to heck and back, especially this time of year....

Lucky you guys to experience "the life!"

Happy Trails said...

The most unusual walking stick I have ever seen was made from a cholla skeleton like the one you showed us in the photograph! They are very strong and resiliant. The one I saw had been sanded smooth, stained a deep blondish color, had a band of leather at the top where you would place your hand and the leather was beaded at the very top. Beautiful walking stick!
We also love the Sonoran Desert!

Anonymous said...

Lovely pix! I like the silhouetted saguaros especially.

The marker looks like a National Geodetic Survey marker, but the Cadastral Survey is a bit different. It does indeed have to do with BLM land, but it sounds like it is involved with National Parks and other things, too.

Texas Yellow Rose said...

Definitely an amazingly extraordinary life we lead! Aren't we lucky? :)

Anonymous said...

The desert is harsh.

New Age Nomad said...

Great Pics after spending 3 years living the good life Off The Grid. You realize the desert has a ton more life then any forest out there:)

Peter + Beatrix said...

I like that. Speaking saguaros. They are old and can tell stories from the days of the Wild West. They have seen stage coaches go by, sand storms and cloud bursts. They knew the Dalton brothers before they got killed.

Stillhowlyn's Travels said...

I am going to do a whole photo "study" on saguaro gestures and postures....and caption them!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Lynda, you should. Their secret lives have been secret long enough.

P & B, that's true! I felt awe, but didn't realize it's because they know so much.

It's true, Berg. It's teeming.

Ha! Mary.

Very lucky, Betty. Very, very lucky.

Thanks, Rob! Interesting site. I followed a link that promised to take me to an Arizona BLM cadastral page, but it reneged. I've gotten the impression that it's more of a legal marker, as opposed to an informational USGS benchmark.

That sounds unique, Geri. My walking stick grew up in China.

You can repeat that, Nickie!

Blars, I'm wondering why people don't camp on it. They definitely motor around out there. I suppose it's worth an ask.

Thanks, Sandie. It was definitely the sky that pulled us back out here. It's the first thing I look at in the morning, and the last thing at night.

C'mon out, Lisa! I mean, how long can you enjoy that perfect weather and beach, besides all your life up 'till now?

Molly, even people who have seen it in person remain unimpressed. BUT, there's a difference between deserts, and the Sonoran is the most beautiful. IMO, of course.

Aw, thank you, Nancy! Happy New Year!

I've never named them, Sue. You may THINK that reveals a shallow imagination, but I don't like to confuse them. Next time I see them, I will have forgotten their earlier name, and that's just insulting.

Right, Kim? You'll be enjoying it soon enough!

Thank you, Sharon!

Sherry and Rebecca, you caught me. I love her. She should be Poet Laureate to the world. Sherry, we do like Tucson, just because it's easy to be here. I suppose there are worse reasons to like a place!

Haha, Grace. I just surmised. I'm glad I got the cactus stuff right - it would be embarrassing to advise people to lean against a saguaro for shade, or something.

Don't we, KCG? Extraordinary.

Thanks, John! It is. Extraordinary.

JO said...

Your photos can make great post cards. I want to go out and take some pictures, Maybe I will do that tomorrow.

Desert Diva said...

Beautiful photos - Tucson is a nice place to visit! If you really want to "waste some time" go to the Goodwill thrift store that weighs everything by the pound. I've found some amazing things there - but don't go if you're in a hurry...

Spotted Dog Ranch: said...

I love Mary Oliver.

But I hate cholla, having been attacked by it, as well as my dogs. Mean stuff.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

So I'm guessing you're not missing New York?

Enjoyed your pictures and your post, wish we were back where you are right now. Hopefully, next year.

Janie and John said...

Aren't you amazed at how many saguaros there are considering how challenging it is for them to get started? I loved seeing those when we were in Tucson area. You are right, no ordinary life here, just ordinary things that have to get done amidst the extraordinary thnigs we get to see and do. :)

The Good Luck Duck said...

Janie, I'm also amazed at how many live to such an old age.

Marti, I DO miss people back in New York, but I prefer they all be here.

Where are you guys now? It rained last night, so the situation may not be better at the moment.

Oh Chinle. I'll bet the dog attack was the worst. You have to hurt them to help them.

Cheryl, that sounds awesome! We passed a Goodwill yesterday - is there more than one? We also (finally) stopped for a picture of your boutique. The one on Campbell - you know.

Thanks, Jo. I'll look for yours.

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

Happy New Year, Quackers!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Lol! Happy New Year, Cyn!