I struggled a bit in February to focus on Mutt & Chops for a couple of reasons.
The first was that my younger son Sam was preparing to move permanently out of the house. He needed my help running around to pull together all the stuff to make his new home. The second was that my younger son Sam was moving out of the house, and I needed some time to come to terms with it.
It’s silly, I know. First, both our boys live in the Phoenix area, for which we are grateful. Besides, Sam lived in Flagstaff for 4 years while attending Northern Arizona University, so I knew what it meant not to have him around.
- But he had been home for 9 months, and I got used to having a chick in the house again.
- There was also the year and three months Sam and I spent alone together in Texas so that he could graduate high school with his friends, after Steve relocated to the Phoenix area. That gave us a little bit more of a special bond.
- Plus, Sam is the “baby”, so to speak, which made his leaving the official start of our empty nest going forward.
I think that those things combined left me feeling just a little off-kilter. A little bit lost.
Because your eyes see a twenty-two year old man, but your heart sees this little face.
So, after this happened last Friday…
…(that’s Steve and Matt unloading Sam’s moving truck), I decided I needed to shake off the funk and focus on something else.
I didn’t have far to look. December through March is one of two rainy seasons in the desert, and a time when our weather comes from California. We all know how wet they have been, so we’ve been getting quite a bit of rain as well.
The Sonoran desert is the greenest I have ever seen it, and it is truly beautiful right now. All I have to do is look out the door and realize that it is tough to be in a funk when nature is favoring us with such magnificence.
We live in the very north of Phoenix, and we are surrounded by a lot of flora and fauna. I had recently captured some amazing photos, including some pictures of the Harris hawks that frequent our neighborhood.
So, I was inspired this morning to grab my cameras and lenses and go looking for our wildlife. We have coyotes, javelinas, owls, bobcats, rabbits; all kinds of neat animals in and around my neighborhood. I was determined to share with you an entire post full of majestic pictures like the one above.
Well, folks, this quail couple is about as majestic as it got for me this morning in terms of fauna. Which is actually okay, because instead of being disappointed by the animals I was not finding, I was awed by the beauty of the desert, in the first light of a crisp and breezy morning. So I’ll share the desert itself with you.
It’s almost difficult to make out the stately saguaros against the green ground cover of the desert floor. It looks practically tropical to me.
All that plant growth makes a gorgeous foreground to the foothills to the north. It’s usually so brown instead.
There were little washes still drying from the overflow of the rain that they channeled.
And standing puddles, reflecting the greenery back onto itself, multiplying the visual impact and beauty of growing things.
This ocotillo took full advantage of the bounty of water, bristling with vibrant, tiny leaves.
And this dead piece of wood, which would normally lie on sand and rock, found itself in a verdant sea.
I saw beauty pushing itself up through the rocks everywhere I looked. And it put a smile on my face.
I am happy to see both my boys successfully on their own. And the beauty of the world around me brought home that life continues in all its glory. Of course, I knew that already. But an uplifting experience every now and then sure helps to remind one.
A quail couple used our large, backyard landscaping pots to build their nest a couple of seasons ago. When the eggs hatched, the little ones had to get out of there somehow. These two chicks were getting ready to jump. Just as they all should.