Magic Mountain In The Sky

The lights of Tucson glow behind the mountain, glowing a silhouette, casting an ominous glow across the clouds.  How can I not be enchanted?

At first I was not in love with this harsh desert landscape.  Everything is stark, hard-edged.  Everything has spines, or bites!  Life in the desert leaves a very fine margin for error.  Screw up once, and you easily lose your way in the maze of cacti and endless leguminous shrubs.  

Where is water?  

Mostly underground or locked inside plants that are stoutly defended by suits of spiny armor.

Where is food? 

All around you, locked inside plants that are stoutly defended.

Or running fast: jackrabbits, desert rats, lizards, snakes; you have only to gain access.  Good luck.

Watch out for things that bite or sting.  And everything bites or stings!  

The most terrifying sight in the desert is a dusty-looking cloud moving along 6 feet or so above the ground.  As you get closer, you perceive a low hum, almost a vibration.  

Turn around and leave, now!  It’s Africanized honeybees.  They’ll kill you faster than any rattlesnake or scorpion!

I inadvertent walked underneath a tree in which Africanized honey bees were swarming.  I perceived a sense of movement, then the hum of thousands of wings….I held my breath, striving not to give off fear pheromones.  I’ve seen a person get swarmed by honeybees.  She was allergic, and saw one bee and freaked out. Suddenly the whole hive was on her!  So I tiptoed out from under that tree, trying not to tiptoe…

Having been kind of cornered in Tucson by bad weather everywhere else, I’ve had time to get to know this inhospitable environment.  I’m awed by its stark beauty.  It’s harder to photograph than many places I’ve been, perhaps because of the monotonous miles of….cactus. And shrubs in the legume family.

Sometimes Mother Nature smiles and puts on a light show behind the Magic Mountain, bending the light from the city and bouncing it off the clouds.

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22 Comments

  1. here in phoenix we are circled by the mountains and there is always something beautiful to marvel at every hour of every day, whether its the oranges and reds, the sunsets or sunrises with blue clear skies or the doubly starry starry nights up in the impossibly high skies.

    Reply
    • Oh, I forgot you’re in Phoenix! The Superstition Mountains are so mysterious. That’s so cool that they give you a light show! Must make for some nasty air in the summer though…how do you survive summer there?

      Reply
      • usually we only have a handful of pollution advisory days. and altho summer is hot, its really only a problem if you don’t have a car and have to do a lot of walking or busing. since im disabled i get to use paratransit/dial a ride for a small fee each way. but it is pretty exhausting if you are walking or using the bus. always having bottled water is a year round thing here as are sunglasses. and the heat. as bad as it is, is worth it for the wonderful weather the rest of the year.

        Reply
  2. The aliens have landed. Prepare to be invaded. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Vivia Boe

     /  January 21, 2017

    I love your writing, Doc!
    Gladdened to hear you more upbeat
    Hugs to you and Bigess D.
    (what a gorgeous pup she is)

    Reply
  4. Africanized bees? YOWSA!

    Reply
      • Do they make honey? LOL I wonder if it’s poison!

        Reply
        • They actually do make honey, although not as much as domestic bees, and of course it’s a little more tricky to collect it.

          Reply
          • I guess!!! I wonder if they’ve made it as far North/South as the Carolinas?

            Reply
            • They have, in the Eastern and most southern portions. They are only dangerous if they’re swarming or their hive is disturbed. Foraging individuals are not any more dangerous than regular bees. I was camping in a wash where there was a hive somewhere around. Thousands of bees out foraging every day! A few individuals always visited me, looking for my food. What they got was my electric tennis raquet! (A portable bug zapper) Unlike flies, the bees are easy to kill. I was worried at first that killing them would alert the hive, but they fortunately do not seem to be altruistic….the worst of it was that Atina, who when she was a captive spent most of her time in a kennel with nothing to do, learned to catch flying insects as a way to alleviate her boredom; so she snatches bees out of the air and of course they sting her mouth.

              Oh, here’s a bee now! πŸ‘Ή

              Reply
              • LOL. Your electric tennis racket! I have those huge bumblebees every year that try to eat the wood on my side porch. My flyswatter goes to town!

                Reply
  5. Beautifully written post
    Sorry I haven’t been around
    To much going on
    I’ve been writing
    Just not visiting as much

    As Sheldon always

    Reply
  6. I can’t wait to make it there–you’ve found a way to give the starkness a particular beauty that can only be seen when looking deeper than the eye can see. I hope you are doing well–and that the shoulder is improving. Dawn

    Reply
    • Thank you, Dawn! Just a very low-tech capture of a beautiful phenomenon. I always feel very privileged when these magical moments appear, and even more so when they agree to have their pictures made!

      We have another couple of months before it gets too hot (for me, anyway), so what are you waiting for??? πŸ˜‰

      Reply

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