The delight of winter water

Clear Creek at Flood Stage

Imagine standing by this water on a crisp winter day as the rush of cold breeze caresses your face.

This is the Verde Valley’s Clear Creek at flood stage. In a normal flow, water is half this volume, but the creek bed anticipates change. Over the millennia the water has hollowed out a wide swath of normally dry land, preparing for potential that only happens once or twice a season. The trees standing in water are patient, knowing the snow melt from the San Francisco Peaks will eventually pass.

For the desert, this ebb and flow of the water passage is as inevitable as breath itself.

We, too, breathe in and out, allowing room for the intake gasp of surprise and that deep outward sigh of satisfaction.

Snow, snow over the whole land
across all boundaries.

The candle burned on the table,
the candle burned.

~Boris Pasternak~

The Creeks of the Verde Valley

Some people think of Arizona as a desert state, which it is, but the mid-part of the state is home to the beautiful Verde River and its five tributaries, Fossil Creek, Granite Creek, Oak Creek, Sycamore Creek and Clear Creek. And if you’d like to add a few, there is also dry Beaver Creek and its sister, Wet Beaver Creek.

Because the elevation drops through three life zones from north to south, this river and tributaries are a price beyond measure to the wild life they nourish. In 1984 the Verde was designated as a wild and scenic river.

The picture below is of Clear Creek, during a flood stage. It certainly lives up to that title!