11. November 2014 · Comments Off on Electric Blue Persuasion · Categories: Places · Tags: ,

Submitted for your approval, one Tarantula Hawk; New Mexico state insect and possessor of the most painful sting in the US. Usually seen speeding horizontally a few feet above the ground with rear legs trailing loosely behind.

Tarantula Hawk Tarantula Hawk
26. October 2012 · Comments Off on Cool Weather · Categories: Places · Tags: , ,

Highs in the 80’s? How do we reckon with that? We might sleep in a bit and take a walk in full daylight, maybe even eat breakfast first. My walks have lots of decision spots, more added as I try possibilities; today at one junction my feet chose the detour, dropping down a meandering wash that slowly gets canyon-deep with 50′ red walls through a ess-bend, then as the land flattens it becomes just barely lower than the surrounding ground as it reaches Cienega Creek, at that point a deep rut barred by the thick bared roots of a solo cottonwood. Or more properly it reaches the creek bed, since Cienega is dry at that point.

A walk south for about a mile in the rocky sandy creek bed finds cottonwoods and running water and all the wild life that thrives therein.

Not that the walk down the wash was dead, typical desert staples that can find hidden water were doing well up there; swaths of lush grass tops were everywhere, Desert Broom blooms were unfurled in the sun to a fill brush width and a wasp worked among them, glaring at me when the shutter clicked and displaying its wings. Further along a grasshopper rested on a branch and got pensive at the click of the shutter, moving its legs like a nervous soul at a job interview, but it sat still for me.

And then there were the many near-invisible grasshoppers that cavorted as I walked, waiting until my foot was almost on them and then adroitly leaping to the side, only to then leap back in my path again a few paces ahead and repeat. I had one large lubber bounce off my hat brim in a busy spot, they love to treat me as a moving parkour obstacle. I can’t help but laugh with delight as they go bouncing around, but they are not much for having a photo taken, thus this paragraph.

Along with me as I headed down the wash was a circling hawk, peregrinating out and back with the wind gusts, but always within sight as I made my way. As I turned and started up the creek bed, it called and ran its shadow right across the top of my head as it went over and vanished off to the north.

At the creek: Where there’s water flowing we have dragonflies of wonderful colors, waterbugs proving how long they can sit still on a rock inches beneath the water without making so much as a bubble, and there is algae and the smell of glorious dank mud and leaf mold from decaying cottonwood leaves and shade and coolness and the wistful sound of leaves in the breeze that makes me want to take a nap right there. This is so rare here, so exotic, that it sorta shocks people who visit, they look around gobsmacked, not believing such exists in this part of Aridzona. And yet their feet are so wonderfully cool.