If the Hummingbird Can Rest So Can I

If the Hummingbird Can Rest So Can I

The shadows are long while the sun sinks behind Troon Mountain.

The smell of the creosote is so sweet but just for an instant when you walk by a bush sporting tiny yellow flowers that creates an island of fertility.

Ocotillo is bursting in dazzling orangey- red.

The whole desert is a riot of colors right now.

Lantana bushes — some lavender, some a mix of shades — spice up the palette.

Birds are noisy as hell. Especially the Curved Billed Thrasher especially when I got near her nest. There were two newly hatched birds, mouths wide open. Mother screaming. Whit, wheat. Whit wheat.

Oh the bougainvillea!

It’s spilling over the walls wherever it is planted. Now this is magenta of another order.

Not to be outdone, the prickly pear is bringing forth gorgeous salmon and pink flowers. I’ve heard the juice can be used for intoxicating mixed drinks, if you dare to get near it.

All against a stunning backdrop of magnificent mountains full of massive granite boulders.

And there is that one standing stone, so perfectly placed in a neighbor’s front yard. Naturally colored in oranges and grey-black tones by varnish.

But the most special sight of all was when I literally stood staring at a hummingbird that landed on a little branch and it did not move for about a minute!

That is so rare. Time stood still and so did I.

A few photos I took on a goodbye walk in my Scottsdale neighborhood 

The Ploppet

The Ploppet

Beware of Unicorns!

It’s not every day you see a Ploppet. It would be considerably more rare than seeing a unicorn.

By comparison, the Unicorn Tree would be quite common. Should you want to see one, you can find it in the south of Spain along the Costa del Sol.

Oddly enough, I would never have seen the Ploppet myself had I not been walking around the neighborhood at Troon with some friends when we were stymied by a barbed wire fence!

Barbed wire in this part of the “settled” desert is certainly a thing of the past, you say. In the days when ranchers let their cattle roam or even let their tame horses out of the stables to forage, barbed wire would have prevented them from wandering where they weren’t supposed to go.

But now we have fancy fences and gated communities that are designed to make us feel safer. They are not much of a barrier, though, for Amazon’s Prime trucks that even deliver their goods on Sunday!

So how did we encounter the barbed wire in the first place? When trying to take a short cut from one gated community to another (hey, we live here, so not exactly dangerous riffraff, right?), we were going along a narrow trail through an un-landscaped desert area when we spotted it ahead.

Oh no, we thought, we will have to retrace our steps and go back out to another paved road and make it a longer loop.

Along with seeing the Ploppet, the biggest blessing of having to reverse ourselves was, I discovered my new iPhone was laying smack dab in the middle of the road. Eeeek! It must have fallen out of the pocket of my jacket when I peeled it off my shoulders and tied it around my waist.

Even though we were in a very low-traffic gated community, it would surely have been run over by a car and I would not even know where I lost it.

It’s a good thing I believe in miracles. There’s one, for any of you non-believers!

Now it’s time to negotiate getting around the pedestrian gate, which is a piece of cake. Except, wait! Hold your horses! What is that we spot up ahead?

Why, it’s a Ploppet. See it for yourself.

The Ploppet is the craziest car I have ever seen. I spoke to the guy driving it and had a peek inside and it was just as bizarre.

I asked him, “ How in the world did you create this…this…?”

He filled in the blank, “Ploppet.”

“The what?” Did my ears deceive me. “Why do you call it the Ploppet?”

“It’s been a project for years. I just kept plopping stuff on to it, so it got to be called the Ploppet.”

“Oh, that makes sense.” I had to concur.

My friends were hanging back, but I was glad they were there so they could take my picture.

“Wait a minute,” I pleaded. “Let me take a photo of the back please.”

Lo and behold, the Ploppet has it’s own license plate!

Seeing the Ploppet sent me into another dimension. When IT appeared in view, I could see nothing but IT.

Reflecting on that moment, it makes me wonder, is this how it feels to see a giant teddy bear for the first time? Or is it like the enchantment of Mickey Mouse greeting you at Disney World?

The Ploppet just goes to prove that Albert Einstein was right when he said:


“Logic will get you from A to B but Imagination will take you everywhere.”


Blackberry Hunting

Blackberry Hunting

Blackberry Hunting

“What’s that bag for Sweetie?” I asked, when Kevin got in the car with a large, heavy-gauge, clear plastic bag with handles.

“For the blackberries.”

We had seen them starting to turn from red to black a couple of weeks ago when we walked at Clahane.

“Isn’t this early for them to ripen since it’s only August?” I was surprised because I knew Kevin had not started to learn to make his own jam until after I returned to Scottsdale last year.

“It is, but I’ll get some now anyway,” Kevin replied. The hunter-gatherer was already deep into foraging mode. Same as when he is searching for lost golf balls — he is a man possessed.

Just a couple hundred yards beyond where we parked, Kevin started to pick them. I walked on and when I got to the bend in the single track road, I yelled to Kevin, “ There’s a lot of them just here when you go around this bend.”

“There’s plenty here too. You go on and I’ll catch up,” Kevin assured me.

He never did.

I doubled back a couple of times but he was not to be seen. The wind was fierce but at least the sunshine was plentiful. I kept going at a brisk pace charging up a hill into the teeth of the wind. I felt buoyant, even with all my layers.

There were a few dog walkers and joggers. The occasional car inched by me as I stood up close to the brambles.

The pounding surf fifty feet below propelled me forward.

Kevin was nowhere in sight, so I decided to make a video of the rock art. There’s so much now, it took a full seven minutes from the faded “Keep Your Sunny Side Up”, to “Seek Truth”, and an early favorite, “We’re All in the Same Boat.”

You can hear and see waves crashing on the rocky shore. The incessant wind is blowing, making for an annoying soundtrack.

When I got back to the car there was no Kevin. He didn’t answer his phone so I didn’t know if he was still intensely into picking blackberries or was finishing the loop. Back and forth I paced, not knowing which direction he would come from.

At last he showed up. The plastic bag was bulging with plump blackberries. Juice was dripping down inside.

Beaming, Kevin said, “ I found a huge cluster of berries near a gate to a field. The sun was beating down on them, and they were so ripe. I just couldn’t tear myself away!”

Kevin drove with only his left hand on the steering wheel, his right hand was a bright purple.

When we got home, after washing the mountain of berries, they went right into the freezer. A few days later, Kevin the alchemist, produced the most extraordinary jam.

I suppose it’s in the genes, from having watched his mother do it so many times during his childhood.

The earth has given us the gift of the fruit and Kevin has transformed it, with love, into another delicious form of love. And it’s even spreadable!