Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Arizona Travels - episode 1


Here I am back in Arizona again - it's been two years since I was last here. This time I came in a warmer time of year - I say warmer, it's 98 Deg F as I write! Well, outside, I'm in the shade inside of course, with AC and cold drinks on tap.

Actually the heat has not bothered me at all, I've covered up in sun cream and worn a hat and cool clothes, always had plenty of water and my asthma has been absent! This climate suits me (mind you, not sure how I'd cope in the summer as the temperatures soar above 100...)

Nadine's house is in San Tan Valley, to the south west of Phoenix. It's an hour to downtown along the freeways, and round here it's pretty much scrubby desert with houses and towns plonked in the middle of it all. Nadine's yard (garden to you and me) backs on to a golf course and there is a metal rail fence so you can see the golfers as they play. You hear 'shucks' (or words to that effect) as they thwack the ball off to the next tee, you hear '*&*&*' when you hear a whack as the ball has hit some house, and lots of happy chatter as women, men and children send their balls off on the appropriate trajectory down the course.

Golf courses here are green - but only green in patches. In between it's coarse desert - yellow brown dirt with the odd seguaro cactus, mesquite tree and some other little bushes. Dashing about between the sparse vegetation are the ground squirrels - dust coloured rodents who live in little holes in the non-green golf course. They are driven to dive for their holes not only when speedy golf carts shoot past, but when the shadow of the Harris hawk flies overhead or a rather ardent grackle (like an all-black magpie) gets a little too close.
So, sitting in the garden alone I see lots of things - including the little brown lizards who scoot along the walls and, when they reach a sunny spot, stop to do little push ups to keep their bellies from burning. There are quail who wander past, verdin (little greenish birds) and finches, mourning doves and white winged doves too. I could sit all day in the yard just watching.
The multi-coloured golfer is, of course, the most amusing of these creatures, but I do prefer the wildlife.
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