This is a photographic compilation of some of my travels, not all with Callie, but with Michael for sure. He has been quite supportive all these years. He bought me a Polaroid camera when my daughter Lara was born 32 years ago, and I haven’t stopped since!
Here I am in Maui and it is raining steadily and I am writing about Anza Borrego. Now don’t get me wrong, I am loving the rain and it is the perfect envioronment for reminiscing about the hot and arid desert. When I am in Anza Borrego, I either cycle or hike and most of these photographs were taken while doing both. The lighting in the desert is like no other, the background appears flat as if it were cut out and pasted far away and the shadows are sharp, crisp and well defined. When the desert is fortunate to receive enough rainfall, you are given the gift of wildflowers in the spring. Nothing is taken for granted in the desert and what little water falls from the sky, determines what events will unfold later on. This past spring we had enough rainfall to merit a decent display of flowers. It is a photographer’s dream. The season doesn’t last long because the insects that feed on the flowers are prolific and the birds that feed on the insects, voracious and the cycle of life is played out in fast forward mode. What little time is available is used with an efficiency like no other place on the planet.
Ah, what to say about biking in the desert… Michael and I moved to Borrego Springs from Encinitas, California about 16 months ago and the change has been dramatic. We went from a bustling beach town to a quiet, serene but brutal desert that is all but abandoned like a ghost town in the summer. In order to really appreciate the desert, you have to be a morning person, which my husband unfortunately is not. The temperature is so extreme in the desert that you have to work your schedule around the time of day and how high the sun is in the sky if you want to play outside. So, I drag Michael’s butt out of bed most every day in order to go on an early morning bike ride, and because it is always such a wonderful experience, he lets me. There is nothing like biking in the desert. For one thing, you rarely come across a car, and if you do, most of the time, people wave and slow down to pass you by. The scenery is stark and hostile if you aren’t prepared, but incredibly beautiful if you go out before dawn and pack plenty of water. The wildlife of the area don’t seem to recognize what exactly a human being on a bike is because we are able to get very close before they startle and run away in confusion. We see coyotes hunting, kestrels diving, hawks soaring, jack rabbits the size of dogs leaping and racing across the sand, and even bighorn sheep. We spotted a diamondback rattlesnake sunning itself on the road one day and I made Michael wake him up with a stick. He whipped into a strike position so fast that the eye couldn’t see what happened. I was thankful that Michael’s stick was long enough. I didn’t want the snake to get run over by a car, but I also didn’t want Michael to be bitten. We pass flocks of doves that rest in the ocotillo, and they explode out of the branches as one huge blast of feathers. In the spring, if there has been enough rainfall, the desert supports a variety of fragrant and lovely spring flowers. I am a photographer and can never get enough pictures taken while biking and Michael is always patient with me. We are biking around 18 miles a day now and I am getting a good workout without noticing the miles flying by…Biking in Anza Borrego is like no other place to ride. You may not be able to go out in the middle of the day in the heat of summer, but I can handle that because I am a morning person! What I can’t handle, is staying up late at night. That task I shall leave for Michael.