DESERT IN BLOOM: “Grayhawk Gold”

Thanks to the last nine months of dry weather, everything is slower than usual this year in the Arizona desert. One only needs to look at this once beautiful patch of prickly pears in our neighborhood to see how tough the dry desert heat has been on nature in the last four years.

For a while I though we might not even get our beautiful desert bloom this year. And then suddenly this week, with temperatures reaching up to the low 90s°F, the desert trees and the bushes decided to welcome spring this year.

Here are some of the scenes of blooming Palo Verde trees from our neighborhood from the last two days. I call it the “Grayhawk gold.” And you don’t even have to dig for it. 🙂



Here’s what our front yards looks like today. Both Joshua Tree (white candelabras) and Palo Verde (yellow flowers) are in full bloom.



Dust, high winds return to Phoenix for second week

One week ago today, Elizabeth and I were driving from Phoenix to Tucson and facing the high winds which usually buffet our state at this time of the year.

“Today, it’s worse,” Elizabeth she said as she drove back home early this evening from running some errands.

Here’s a CBS new story about it…

Here we go again! More strong winds are sweeping through the Phoenix-metro area.

A blowing dust advisory has been issued until 7 p.m. for Casa Grande, Florence, Maricopa and Queen Creek.

Around 2 p.m., areas of dense blowing dust started developing southeast of Phoenix.

Winds were reported at 30 mph.  It was just last Thursday when we saw another afternoon of high winds and blowing dust.

[RELATED: Windy, dusty day makes for hazardous driving conditions, Apr 12, 2018]

The peak wind gust so far on this Thursday has been at Springerville (in eastern Arizona) where the wind reached 71 miles an hour.

16578717_G (Source: ADOT)




One good thing about Arizona windstorms is that they don’t last long. And they bring some cooler air from the Pacific. So this morning, we awoke to a beautifully clear day.

The cacti liked it, too. Take a look at this “Cactus Sunflower” that opened this morning in our pool are. Yesterday, it was just a pink bud. Now, the flower is as big as half the cactus.

Want to know why I call them “sunflowers” (besides the obvious resemblance). Because they always open up toward the east, facing the rising sun in the morning. And by the evening, they are closed again. Just a little desert trivia for you.

Notice also little baby cacti at the base of the plant? They look like a crown.

BTW – for those who may not have studied Latin in school, “post nubila, phoebus” means “after the clouds, the sun.”



Today I felt I needed to do something special to mark this year’s Earth Day. So I headed out to McDowell Mountains for a hike on the Calvary Hill AZ trail. I did not do the full length of the trail, only about 3/4 of it. But climbing up to and from a 2,200 ft elevation in 91°F heat more than enough of an exercise for this old body.

When I was close to the halfway point, I looked up and saw a scorpion in the sky. If it was a message from the spirit realm, it was one of protection.

Defensiveness/control/protection is evident in the scorpions appearance – which seems to say “Do not trifle with me.” One look at this magnificent creature says “back off!” does it not?

In Samaria, the scorpion is associated with the Sun, and ancient writings depict Scorpion-men guarding (protecting) sacred gateways leading to ascension, pleasure and enlightenment.

In Egypt and Tibet scorpion is seen as an omen, and is made into an amulet – signifying protection and warding off evil. In Africa, the scorpion is also seen as a healing sign – its venomous oil used for medicinal purposes. (from


UPDATE APRIl 30, 2018

DESERT IN BLOOM: “Grayhawk Lavender”

The Arizona desert continues to evolve and change colors almost every day. Three weeks ago, I posted some pictures taken around our neighborhood in North Scottsdale titled Desert in Bloom: “Grayhawk Gold”. Well, after last night’s walk, I can retitle the piece to Desert in Bloom: “Grayhawk Lavender”

Take a look at these pictures I took at sunset last night. The beautiful lavender blossoms grace the branches of Ironwood trees. They are among the toughest trees there are. And yet their flowers are so sweet and feminine that they could pass for a backdrop any of Chopin’s most romantic pieces.

But the Palo Verde, which gave us the Grayhawk Gold title, are still not ready to give up, their beautiful golden robes despite the strong winds we have been having in the last few weeks. Take a look at the view from my office this morning, and across the street.

And on the other side of our driveway, another Palo Verde tree and a unique (fuchsia) Oleander tree have merged their branches and blossoms into a symphony of fuchsia, gold and purple.

Their love affair continues even after they drop to the ground (look at our driveway). It’s just that the fuchsia color turns to purple as it dries out, and the yellow into a deeper gold.

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