Sunday, September 11, 2022

I jump around in time on my blog, often sharing something from the past, but this post is current. Last week we returned to Flagstaff, Arizona, for two months. We’re house and cat sitting for my cousin who is enjoying the wilds of Australia.

We arrived here a little ragged. Our summer did not follow our plans. On our way to the British Virgin Islands at the end of June, where we planned to sail with family and then camp for a week, I fell and badly broke my left arm. We were in the Houston airport waiting for our connecting flight. We cancelled our vacation just as it was about to begin and returned to California. July and August were spent on our property in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Our previous plan had been to get on the road after returning from BVI.

But instead I needed to stay close to medical care plus I could not do much with my fragile arm, broken in two places. I don’t particularly like staying on our property, but it is convenient and free. We live in our travel trailer, off-grid. We also have a storage unit there with the few things we own. The redwood forest still surrounds us. The trees continue to grow, to try to heal from The Burn and from the ongoing drought. But being there is living with the ghost of what was. Shards of glass and other remnants still litter the ground. It feels like being stuck in a kind of purgatory or limbo where the previous life has died but without being able to move on to the new stage. We’ve been in this transitional, liminal space for two years.

We arrived here ragged because it was a long two day drive through 108° weather. I had just started driving again and wasn’t sure my left arm was up to the task. We were still recovering from a recent case of Covid which had diminished our energy and sense of well-being. Flag – as Flagstaff is affectionately known – is at 7,000 feet adding to the adjustment and strain on our beleaguered bodies and respiratory systems. But now, a week later, we feel more settled.

We spent most of March 2022 here as well. It was still winter then, with cold and snow, and the spring plants and birds had not yet appeared. Now, in the late summer, the area is warm and verdant. Both Chris and I are excited to explore more of the natural wonders nearby. Although I still cannot easily operate my best cameras yet, I’ve been able to carry my smaller hybrid Sony camera and use it with one hand.

Each day offers a new landscape and new observations. New beauty and wildness. This is the world I am committed to witnessing and loving even as I see it slip away.

Two days after arriving, I went to the Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve. The late summer flowers were blooming everywhere, many more than I expected to see. Meadows were blanketed with a variety of sunflowers and other compositae. While the gold and yellows dominated, purples, reds, and oranges also dotted the fields and forest. There were 4 o’clocks, fleabane, globemallow, scarlet gilia and purple asters. Flame skimmer dragonflies and large grasshoppers were very active, taking advantage of the warmth before the cold takes hold. Below are some examples of I saw. Which flowers are your favorites?

Comments are appreciated and welcome.

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