I was attracted to this spot by a smell that took me back to childhood, the wonderful aroma of grape Kool-Aid. This is a Texas Mountain Laurel, or Mescal Bean plant, native to the southwest.
And then when I got there, I discovered this amazingly beautiful butterfly, a black Pipevine Swallowtail.
One gives pleasure to the eye; the other to the nose.
AND, both are highly poisonous!
The mescal bean has seed pods that make both people and animals sick. Even the coyotes won’t touch them. And the Pipevine Swallowtail is so toxic that other butterflies imitate those beautiful orange spots so they won’t be eaten, either.
You can’t always believe what you see…or what you smell!
If it is true, if it is beautiful,
if it is honorable, if it is right,
then claim it. ~Rob Bell~
I found a whole wall at a hiking store filled with DIY dispensers for trail mix. My hat is off to the creators of the mixes, who must have had fun thinking up as many flavors as Jelly Belly jelly beans.
The hike may be tough, but if you gotta do it, go in style!
that of those
who contact the habit of eating,
very few survive. ~Wallace Irwin~
The sharp tips of the giant agave are there for a purpose–to fend off predators such as javelina and hungry cattle intent on a juicy meal.
Too bad somebody didn’t tell the spiders, who found the spines to be perfect tent poles for their webs. Or the wind, who discovered the web to be a perfect receptacle for some spare leaves just blowing around.
It is nice to find something that can be put to more than one useful purpose. Nature is resourceful that way.
The first rule of intelligent tinkering
is to save all the parts. ~Paul Ehrlich~
In Arizona, both in the desert climate of Phoenix and at higher elevations like Sedona, pomegranates, those expensive jewels of the supermarket, thrive. I’ve seen hedges of pomegranate bushes, so full of delectable red fruit that the branches sink with the weight.
This one I liked, because the remaining fruit seemed almost a hand-carved bird feeder, serving up the sweet pips to all comers.
It reminds me that something doesn’t have to be whole and beautiful to be perfect.
The act of putting into your mouth
what the earth has grown is perhaps
your most direct interaction with the earth. ~Frances Moore Lappe,
author of DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET
Saguaro cactus are one of the trees of the desert. But if you have ever observed them closely, you’ll notice that they naturally space themselves out, keeping an almost exact distance between one and the next. It’s almost as though they were planted in a carefully aligned plot by an obsessive gardener.
Imagine my surprise when I found this line of saguaros, all edged up against the rocky cliff. They shouldn’t be doing that. Against the rules!
And then I had an epiphany. These cactus were doing exactly what they should be doing, growing where the water would run off the cliff and nourish them. They knew. I was the ignorant one.
I need to remember that. Sometimes the normal rules of what works and what doesn’t don’t work. It pays to be flexible.
After all, when you come right down to it,
how many people speak the same language
even when they speak the same language? ~Russell Hoban~
This was such a cool discovery! It is both a model of design, with all those zigzagging textures, and the actual event, a wisteria vine too stubborn to quit.
When the plant found itself blocked, it changed direction not once but several times. And it isn’t a young whippersnapper of a vine. Take a look at the thickness of girth–this plant has been here for years, patiently finding a path through difficult situations and creating beauty in the process.
As I grow older, things that were once easy for me are sometimes harder to accomplish. But I have grown in wisdom through my experiences. I have become the guru of “work arounds.”
My parents of pioneer stock would be proud.
You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream. ~Aristotle~