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Writing means different things to me. I'm a storyteller, a book editor, and a songwriter. For me, it's like breathing.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Monday Musings: There is life in the desert

Most people think the desert is barren and devoid of any life. I thought that was true until I moved to the desert. The abundance of plant and animal life here astounded me. All you have to do is open your eyes and ears to experience it.

Most mornings I awaken to the odd, rhythmic sound of a quail calling to his family or the shrill calls of the very vocal grackle. I watch humming birds buzz around my feeder, listen to mourning doves cooing. I see rabbits, lizards, roadrunners, owls, bats, even snakes. Mocking birds often fill the air with their “mocking” cries.

We just moved to a house that backs up to a wash and it is full of life. Dozens of chipmunks live in burrows along the wash. They socialize with their neighbors, the rabbits and birds. When a chipmunk senses danger, it sends out a loud trilling noise to warn the other chipmunks.

On quiet nights, the chilling howls from coyotes ring out. When I hear that sound, my skin prickles because it signifies they have caught something.

We don’t have thick, luscious green pine trees here, but there are numerous plants and trees that flourish without the need for much water. My favorite is the palo verde tree. In the spring, its green branches sprout yellow flowers. Its pods also provide food for the various animals.

Many types of cactus grow here in the desert. In spring, beautiful flowers bloom among the sharp, menacing spines. Cactus wrens build their nests in the cactus, probably for protection from predators.

Life is everywhere here. On the stark surface, beneath a sweltering sun, it can be deceiving. But in the early hours of the morning and just before sunset, the animals come out to gather food, rabbits and chipmunks scurry from bush to bush, and the birds fill the air with their excited chatter. It’s so serene and beautiful here in the desert I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Kelley Heckart
Otherworldly tales steeped in myth & magic.

Beauty may be the real beast.

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