We grew up in Ohio, a state entirely covered in green: grass, farmland, and trees. The look was rich, fertile, and inviting. When we first saw the desert many years ago, we thought: empty and ugly. It had to be said. Stretches of barren sand or fine rock with random scrawny shrubs and cactus filled the vast landscape with only an occasional tree. The look was infertile and unforgiving. Over time and a few trips, we changed our minds.
We anticipated wonderful sights in Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona, and yes, the cactus with arms is a saguaro.
So much of the desert environment remains foreign to us. What is this bug that landed on Joe’s hand?
We’d seen the red flowers waving on top of the tall ocotillo plants. The blooms looked like little red signal flags on those pole-like spikes. An ocotillo we passed was bent over, and we finally got to see what the flower buds looked like close up.
After walking for some time we spotted a small cactus in bloom just off the path. The flower’s color and the delicate dusting of pollen made it worth crouching all the way down to take the photo.
At the end of the afternoon we collapsed onto veranda chairs at a nearby Bed & Breakfast where we stayed. We just wanted to stay outside awhile longer to watch the desert. Cameras and binoculars were close by.
The B&B hosts kept birdfeeders filled and tossed food scraps out for the javelinas. Sure enough, the javelinas trotted in just moments later.
Amazing and glorious birds tempted us to pay attention to them and forget the javelinas.
Who would get bored observing the desert and all there is to see?