Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
–John Muir, conservationist and founder, The Sierra Club
I couldn’t drive as far as I wanted today because of confusing road construction that made it unclear whether it was possible to go north on 87 to Payson. I’m sure there was a way, somehow, but the other drivers ahead of me couldn’t seem to figure it out either.
Still, I was able to get a handful of photos of the glorious wildflowers that are in bloom right now. This is my favorite time of year here in Arizona. It seems as though the brown, dry earth keeps a secret for 10 months of the year, and can’t hold it in any longer once the middle of March comes along. Suddenly, bright, nodding flowers line the roads and carpet wide swaths of land. Yellow. Purple. Red. Mountains that are brown the rest of the year now look as though they’ve been rubbed with gold. The effect is lovely, all of it is beautiful. Every driver was slow today on that road, even me. There was too much to see, and no rush.
“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
Back in April of 2007 (in a earlier blogging effort), I wrote about these cliffs, which are part of the Bulldog Cliffs and rise hundreds of feet above the Salt River as it snakes through Tonto National Forest.
You can’t see it from this angle (or distance), but near the top, in a crevice between those two outcroppings in the center, there is one saguaro cactus. It grows high above anything that one would think might sustain it. There doesn’t seem to be anything but rock up there, or much sun most of the time. Yet it survives. In conditions that seem unfavorable, even hostile, it finds what it needs to grow. I look for it every time I drive past, and if I ever find that the saguaro is no longer there, I think it might break something small but significant in me.
For identities that are perhaps a bit lonely, a bit anxious at the thought of the world, this could be the place to hinge a life.
–Allen Jones, on Ingomar, Montana