So many RVers visit the southwest during the winter months but they often head out again before the tax deadline and they miss the desert springtime.
We seldom get rain but it happens occasionally and I am always fascinated with approaching storms. The raindrops make their staccato dance on the roof, a peaceful sound. It is close to Easter and the desert has a sense of renewal. It takes so little water to make a miraculous change. I knew that within hours, the plants would leaf out and the cacti that slurped up all that water, would bloom. It is a cloud-covered morning, a rare cool morning, and the air is cleansed and fresh. It is a morning meant for sitting on my back deck with a giant cup of coffee.
Rain brings a yard full of Mexican poppies. The Easter cactus is right on time. It has become tired over time and finally laid down with its many arms crawling along the ground, filled with giant white blooms. They only last a few hours so you have to be quick if you want a picture. The bottlebrush tree is right behind it with its bright red blooms that look every bit like the brushes we used to clean our baby bottles with back in the dark ages. It’s hard to take your eyes off the bright pink blossoms of the prickly pear cactus. The desert marigolds decorate my whole yard with bouquets wind dancing in the sunlight.
I am fortunate to view the magnificent many-armed circa 400-year-old saguaro, from my deck. Methuselah is basically a bird condo. The only time it does not have birds flying in and out building nests or feeding babies is when the hawks or owls come calling. Then it is quiet, very quiet, one might say deathly quiet, until the all clear is given and their enemies have disappeared. The giant saguaro still produces sturdy white blossoms every spring. Sometimes the songs coming from the birds in the ancient mesquite tree that shades my deck make my heart sing they are so beautiful. I rarely know what they are but then again, it doesn’t really matter.
The palo verde (pale green) desert tree is covered with yellow blossoms highlighted by the morning sun. The sun also lights on the yellow bird that just lit on a branch, a western kingbird, so my knowledgeable neighbor tells me, a type of flycatcher. Faithful Nola who loves all the critters great and small, walking or flying, keeps the many shallow pans cleaned and filled with water, especially when the sun heats up our part of the world to the 110+ degrees. Birds of all varieties and sizes drink, no doubt keeping an eye out for danger. These watering pans are sort of a Cheers Bar where nobody knows your name except the most devoted ornithologists.
The tall plant that resembles so closely an asparagus plant is a type of agave native to Arizona. We had many of these at North Ranch last spring. The stalks grow extremely fast, as in several inches a day, then bloom into these green “puffs” for want of a better word, that I believe are called rosettes. The stalks, undisturbed, last for a very long time but they are usually cut down after a short while. If they fall on their own and hit something, they can cause a lot of damage. They are very heavy. This one grew to the height of the saguaro cactus next to it in a very short time. Once it grows that stalk, the plant dies, and the new starts at its base begin life all over.
I hope you are enjoying spring, wherever you are. God Bless until next week.
Winter in the Wilderness, the first e-book novel published by Minshall, is offered at most Internet book sites. A print edition may be obtained from Amazon, or you can order an autographed copy from the author at Box 1040, Congress, AZ for $7.95 plus $3.50 for postage and handling. The fourth edition of RVing Alaska and Canada is available through Amazon.com.
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”