Winter weary, I left Boston after waiting out a ragged snowstorm at the airport, then 23 hours later finally landed in Tucson. I quickly shed thermal underwear and raised my arms to the sun--somewhat in the manner of these old souls opening up to their ancient landscape. Seems these cacti have been watching over rocks and sky since prehistoric times. I felt their sacred energy: quiet and subtle.
The locals tell me that spring is here. From browns and grays, come these striking colors--golds, yellows, oranges, pinks--blooming overnight.
Then there are shapes--elongated, wispy.
What force, what universal decision turned one plant into something round and squat, another brush-like and feathery? Darwin offered some good answers.
I have yet to learn the names of these particular trees. Nor have I figured out how to give language to these mountains that move in contours and shadows.
I like to think back to when a person or group decided upon a name --the Tucson mountains, for instance. Tucson (according to what I found on the internet) comes from the Puma Indians. The word "schookson" means: spring at the foot of a black mountain. I'm guessing someone casually referred to it in this way, then another and another picked up on the tagline, until this nickname stuck. The word made sense, capturing an agreement of perception and community experience.
(My Arizona explorations continue. More pictures forthcoming.)