Corduroy Creek

A few days ago I spent some time in the area near Fort Apache Indian Reservation, Arizona. Here is a late morning shot of Corduroy Creek. This meandering creek isn’t clad in striped textile but runs through a landscape that is every bit as textured. It’s a place where the high desert meets pine forests. And a river runs through it. (Apologies to Norman M.)

The trees with the striking white bark that stand out against the rugged backdrop of Corduroy Creek are Arizona sycamores. These are rather grand trees that can be easily recognized by their mottled bark, which peels away in patches to reveal a creamy, almost ghostly underlayer. They are often found near streams and rivers in Arizona, as they prefer the moist, well-drained soils these environments provide.

Now, for the greenery – those robust, ever-present fellows are likely to be a mix of juniper and pine trees, staples of Arizona’s higher elevation flora.

It’s a beautiful part of God’s world.


Stationary & Stoic

Meet Cecil and Mateo, the two saguaro cacti with a sense of adventure that’s, well, prickly at best. Cecil, the taller one, has aspirations of being a stand-up comedian, though his jokes tend to be a bit dry. Mateo, on the other hand, fancies himself an intellectual, pondering photosynthesis and the existential plight of being rooted in one spot for centuries.

Now, they’ve been toying with the daring idea of crossing Tortilla Flat before nightfall. They’ve even drawn a map in the sand with a fallen ocotillo branch. However, there are a few… ‘sticking points’, shall we say.

Firstly, Cecil is quite concerned about leaving behind his cherished rock collection. He’s quite convinced they’ve started to take on his personality, which mostly involves being hard and stationary. Mateo has spent the better part of the afternoon trying to calculate the logistics of their journey, but given that their top speed is zero miles per hour, the math is rather discouraging.

There’s also the matter of the wildlife. Cecil is deathly afraid of tarantulas, and he’s convinced he saw one don a tiny backpack this morning, indicating a possible mass arachnid exodus.

Lastly, as the sun dips below the horizon, Cecil and Mateo realize they’ll stand there, side by side, a pair of vegetative visionaries contemplating the desert before them, and decide that perhaps the greatest adventure of all is surviving another scorching day in the wilds of Arizona, living life on their own terms – stationary and stoic.


The Superstition Mountains and Jumping Cacti.

I’m on a long trip out West and currently I am visiting the sites around the Phoenix area. Although I can’t compete with @Jake_Case_Photo, a native of these cacti climes, here’s my effort at the Superstitions, located a mere stone’s throw (if one had an exceptionally strong arm) northeast of Phoenix, Arizona.

Among the spiny inhabitants of this area, the Saguaro cactus stands tall. These cacti are the elderly statesmen of the plant world, living up to 200 years, and they only start to sprout their iconic arms around the age of 70. One could imagine them as the curmudgeonly old men of the desert, arms akimbo, grumbling about the young barrel cacti with their flashy flowers and lack of patience.

The Cholla cactus, or “jumping cactus,” (bottom right of frame) adds to the slapstick humor of the landscape. Get too close, and a segment of the cactus might “jump” onto you, as if to say, “Pay attention! I’m here, and I’m sharp!” It’s nature’s way of keeping the comedy alive, ensuring that visitors keep a respectful distance, or at least providing a good story for those who don’t.

Unfortunately, I have such a story. It didn’t seem funny at the time, but maybe you’ll get the humor of it.


Celebrate God’s Beauty