South Mountain Park is just south of downtown Phoenix. It's a mountainous place, absolutely gorgeous as one approaches it on Central Avenue. Phoenix is surprisingly deserted in mid-July. I cannot imagine why. It's enchanting. Granted, it's a heated sort of enchantment, rather like a high school crush, but nonetheless enchante.
I got up at Saturday morning at dawn to go to South Mountain Park. As I pulled in the entryway, a roadrunner crossed the road just before me. I first hiked the trail on the very outskirts of the park. I saw desert quail scuttling along the earth, tons of those wonderful little Arizona birds, cottontail rabbits with big feet, the green/green/green glow of palo verde trees and lots of rocks bigger than those Charlie Brown gets at Halloween.
Here's one vista:
Here's what I mean by Palo Verde trees:
I saw hummingbirds, lizards, and heard the call of coyote in the distance. I got to go again for a brief while near dark on Sunday, and I saw giant saguaro bracketing the red sky and setting sun. I am infatuated with desert, which makes my heart race and my mood brighten.
Yesterday I awoke very late, sleeping off the stress of a very hard work trip. In the afternoon, I went for a hike on the Trinity Trail, which runs from Lavon Texas past Lake Lavon. It's a familiar ground for me. The roar of cicadas, the loping flight of giant swallowtail butterflies, and the soaring herons don't capture well with throwaway cameras. But lakes and prairies do. Here's what I saw:
The grasses are beginning to turn their August brown. The Spring flowers are gone, but colorful thistle and susans remain. When I first arrived at the lake, I saw a great blue heron and a great white heron, flying side by side, away from me. The great blue heron settled on a tree branch, too obscure to see, but I could still capture the lake:
The day proved quite hot by Texas standards, but for some reason I did not mind at all.
I listened to the roar of cicadas, and watched the butterflies, and felt very glad and thankful to be home. I love the desert, but I make my home in fields of grass. I'll stay with what I have for now.