Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Local calendar. Names and figures.

The school-year's about a month-old down here...
and as usual, by now kids are coming to school with late-summer colds and runny noses...
and eventually the teachers catch it as well.

So I'm at home this morning, sitting here with a faithful box of kleenex at my side...

Before the school-year started, one day we drove by Saguaro National Park's eastern district, which edges up to our part of Tucson. Their newsletter included the native calendar--how the local tribe, the Tohono O'Odham people, call the months.

Here we go, then...I'll start with now.

Wasai Gakidaj Masad
(month of dry grass)
avg. high temp.: 94 degrees; avg. low temp.: 67 degrees
Bats and hummingbirds preparing for early October migration; activity increases.
First-year juveniles must gain strength for first long flights to wintering grounds to the south...

Al Ju:big Masad
(month of planting frost-hardy squash)
avg. high: 84; avg. low: 57
Cactus wrens begin to build winter nests in cholla cactus...

S-ke:g S-he pjig Masad
(month of pleasant cold)
avg high: 73; avg low: 45
Ocotillos produce new leaves within five days of winter rainfall...

Ge'e S-he:pjig Masad
(month of big cold)
Desert mistletoe bearing fruit...

Gakimdag Masad Masad
(month of depending on stored foods)
Succulent plants filling up with winter moisture...

U: walig Masad
(month of mating deer)
If the winter has been rainy, desert wildflowers, such as Mexican gold poppies, begin blooming...
This is also the month of "Festival de los Vaqueros,"
or 'rodeo'-time. Tucson schedules one of its school-vacations for this long-weekend...

Ce:dagi Masad
(month of new plants coming up)
Brittlebush blooming; beetles appearing...

Uam Masad
(month of desert in bloom)
Gambel's quail begin mating; snakes active if the winter has been quiet...

U'us Wihogdag Masad
(bean-gathering month, time of hunger)
Nocturnally-flowering cacti in bloom, including saguaro and night-blooming cereus...

Ha:san Bak Masad
New saguaro-fruit ripening, falling to ground--harvested to eat and make wine...

Jukiabig Masad
(month of rain)
Desert toads croak at night to attract mates...

Sopol Esabig Masad
(month of short planting)
Barrel cacti, asters, morning glories, devil's claw, trailing four-o'clock all blooming

And now for a few more, non-calendar, figures...
Demographics gleaned from this morning's paper:

One in five Arizona adults was born in another country.
Hmm....I wonder where--
The Census Bureau really had to spend lots of data-crunching time
to figure out that 2/3 of these come from Mexico?
About 1/3 of Arizonans classify themselves as Hispanic.
Statewide, however, only 25% of the population says they speak Spanish.
Among the foreign-born AZ residents, (who number about 900,000) 85% speak Spanish,
and only 157,000 of them say they speak English very well.

2.2 million AZ adults were born in the state. 3 million were born in a different state. 70,000 born outside the country but born as citizens. 273,000 foreign-born, but naturalized US citizens. 655,000 non-citizens.

"Locals" are a minority.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day--it read "Leaving Tucson? Take a friend with you."

Nice. The driver of the vehicle, though, wasn't looking too 'native'...

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