To know a place you have to walk it again and again. Slowly. Eyes open. Expectantly. I walk the wilderness daily. Even on the same paths and in the same places there is always something new. I know where to find the ironwood tree and the indigo bush. I know where a young saguaro shelters in the shadows of its nurse tree, a palo verde. And I know where the prickly poppies grow, blooming in snowy profusion in April and May. As the desert days become hotter and hotter, the flowers go to seed. September is not a prickly poppy month. Yet something draws me to the place where I saw them in the spring. A single white blossom clings to one spiny, bedraggled stalk. I fall to my knees before this wonder, weeping for joy at my good fortune.
Public mural by Southern California artist Bumblebee Loves You in Historic Downtown Yuma, Arizona
Neglected fence at sundown, Temecula, California