Monday, April 21, 2008

"Salad days"...


"...My salad days,
When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
To say as I said then!"

(click here for a brief discussion of the context and origin
of that quote from Anthony and Cleopatra, 1606)

This afternoon I 'harvested' the last salad greens of the season from our patio garden-containers.
Last week saw our first 90-degree days;
the days grow hot, alas,
and the greens grow bitter.
Adieu, adieu, oh salad of little cost...
...alas, oh lettuces of the past four months,
we ate you well, and spent nigh nought...

I don't know what possessed me to write that just now...
And yet I feel compelled not to delete it...)

But the palo verdes have come into full bloom,
and the cacti are not far behind...

On my way home from work this afternoon, I took a scenic drive up to the Catalina foothills. Most of Tucson, at treetop-height, is carpeted with green and yellow right now...

A perfect insect moment--a ladybug climbing down the slender green twig--a dash of red poking about in the yellow of tree and blue of sky...

...and the ocotillos beneath Finger Point continue to point their fire in all directions.

...and the Engelman's prickly pear blossoms are just beginning to open up.


Last weekend, my wife and I drove down to the Huachuca mountains...
In Ramsey Canyon, which is a Nature Conservancy Preserve, we saw this screech-owl, taking an afternoon-nap in a sycamore tree:

...napping, and also guarding against an acorn woodpecker trying to take over this prime-nesting-habitat:
Ramsey Canyon is a sheltered microclimate--the desert and the forest cohabit this cleft in the mountains, providing a haven for deer and hummingbirds among the yucca, oaks, and maples.
In the autumn, this canyon is one of the only spots in southern Arizona that might stand in for New England...

In the late 19th century, a few families settled in this canyon, and some of their apple trees still bloom every spring:

The Huachuca mountains ("Huachuca" means 'thunder' in Apache) rise into the sky at an ecological and political crossroads--the Rocky mountain, Chihuahua desert, Sonora desert, and Sierra Madre ecosystems all intersect here, where the U.S.-Mexico border marches across the high grasslands between Montezuma Peak on the left and San José peak on the distant right (Mexico).

The area is a haven for birdwatchers, hikers, spelunkers...
...and also smugglers and coyotes:
Quite the roadside sign, eh?

Watch out for deer, the occasional black bear, rattlesnakes, and, oh yes, drug smugglers and human trafficking.

Sky islands. Mountain crossroads.

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