Put On Your Rain Dance Shoes

The storm arrived last night around 1am and I felt like doing a happy dance in the still of night. It is such a big deal when it rains in the desert that everything and everyone celebrates on some level. I didn’t exactly put on my dancing shoes, but I did pull on my UGGS for a second day in a row and Callie got to chase olive leaves and observe a beautiful rainbow developing in the northwest.  It is fresh and brisk outside and the trees have been washed and the dust and sand packed down for a day. The winds are just starting to pick up and there is a chill in the air which means I actually get to put a sweater on too! With the winds come beautifully formed clouds that spiral and sail past the mountains at dizzying speed. When a storm arrives, it is time for me to get out the camera to take landscape photographs. Cloud formations add so much to the overall scene and the desert landscape has such a big sky format that it compliments the dry and arid ground. Southern California received some much needed rain yesterday and Anza Borrego Desert State Park accepted the storm today with relief and appreciation. It feels like the ocotillo turn green and leaf out over night and the beautiful red blossom on the tips of the branches were noticeable today when I went out on a bike ride. You can smell the sage and creosote and quail are dashing around in the underbrush while the white winged doves choose to risk flying erratically overhead. There is a sharp-shined hawk that is so athletic and fast out here that even when the doves are hiding under a bush, it can divebomb down and force them to take flight. There is much more of a sense of the precariousness  of life in the desert and every day a bird or jackrabbit survives is a gift. I could hear the coyotes howling last night and the young pups do their best to join in the chorus. Their voices are higher pitched and so joyous that you just have to hope the season will be kind to them. The scorching hot summer temperatures are behind us and for that, I too can rejoice. Thanksgiving arrives this Thursday and Michael and I and hopefully our good friend, Fred are going to go to Ram’s Hill Country Club for our traditional feast. I don’t have to cook this year, another cause for celebration! Happy Thanksgiving to all…


Follow your Bliss

Nothing will keep Callie from following her bliss. Her beloved olive trees were being whipped and swirled into circular motions but Callie still found a way to climb up her favorite tree.  A beautiful flock of possible Townsend’s Solitaire or some kind of mountain thrush flew in with the storm and landed on the tree, on the ground around the tree and a few took a quick splash in the bird bath. It happened so fast that I was not able to identify them nor take a decent photograph. A big gust of wind sent them careening back out and on to wherever they were going. They appeared to be having a blast and the wind made flying fun and exciting. I had to take the wind chime down and place it at the base of the tree because it was banging so loudly. With other animals, it can be a severe detriment to hunting, scavenging and searching for food. The winds were about 30 mph and most desert wildlife have to seek shelter until the storm blows over. If the storm is powerful enough inland, the dry side of the mountain, which is the desert, will receive rainfall. Today’s storm didn’t produce rain but instead blew sand and leaves and dust everywhere. I have given up on the idea of having a clean and dust free house. Instead, I have tiny litttle sand dunes below all my windows and doors. I have accepted that this is the way it shall be in the desert and I am appreciative that I at least have shelter. I wonder what the coyotes do, and the jackrabbits, quail and roadrunners? It can’t be as easy an acceptance as mine to deal with sand and dust everywhere.  Some storms blow for days and I wonder how they manage to eat and sleep? Anza Borrego State Desert Park is one of the largest State Parks in California.  If you live north and west of Anza Borrego, next time it rains where you live, reflect on what is happening in the desert. The storm has to have a powerful enough punch and clouds need to be heavy with enough moisture to produce rain in the desert. The mountains prevent the storm from traveling to the other side unless winds are strong enough to carry them up and over. Today’s storm was relatively mild compared to some storms and Callie was able to take a few moments to climb her tree and sharpen her claws, face the wind and follow her bliss.



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