Radiogurl a la Carte

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005
If A Picture Paints A Thousand Acorns

I hit the road yesterday with camera in hand this weekend, driving northward to the Pine-Strawberry region. Doing that put me atop the Mogollon Rim, an escarpment hundreds of miles long that cuts through east-central Arizona. At the top of the rim sits a thick forest of Ponderosa pine, perfuming the air with the clean scent. The skies wore brilliant turquoise overhead, though the blue was interwoven with frothy, cotton-candy cloudsthat could have chosen at any moment to bump together and form thunderstorms, since this year's monsoon season has been wonderfully late in its departure.

As it turned out, though, they merely served as an accent to a perfect day, weather-wise. Temperatures were in the low 70's Fahrenheit, there was a comfortable breeze whipping through the boughs, creating the low, moaning song older than time. Here and there the taller pines creaked out protest that perhaps the song was too loud or the notes not quite to their liking. It sounded much like the creaky protest of an old gate, an analogy I thought fitting for a world in which time had retreated, a world which beckoned me enter its shady bowers. The music of bark and needle and brush murmured reminder that in solitude can be profound peace. Wildflowers punctuated the wild grasses, forming delicate spots of color across the otherwise muted canvas.

The drive put me away from buildings, out in the middle of nature. Minus the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

The photos I took are set into the bottom of this page in a slideshow format. I've been hesitant to post anything that way for a while, since it can take bit of time for the page to load. The reason I have used this script is that it is supposed to only download one image at a time. If my browser is any indication, though, it doesn't work that way. My apologies to the folks with dial-up Internet. I did my best to expedite the download process, but there are twelve images in this series. I tried to optimize so they'll load as quickly as possible, anyway.

In the close-up of one bush (in the photos below) you'll see acorns, though the leaves look NOTHING like any oak trees you've ever seen. It's a native Arizona shrub called "live oak" and yesterday was the first I realized what it was. I was walking down to take pictures of the East Verde River (yeah, that teeny stream is called a river here) when I realized that there were acorns growing on the bushes!

Incidentally, don't judge the river by its current size. After a big rain it is indeed a RIVER. There's also a picture of what looks like a road in the series (you can look at that specific image here) but it's not a road - it's simply the second tier of the riverbed. It sits higher than the road, which means that the road becomes impassible immediately following a big rain, as is the case with several of the backroads across the state. Flash floods are generally short-lived, though, and locals know better than to try and forge their way through when the river's in flood stage. That doesn't mean a few foolhardy souls don't try it anyway from time to time, with tragic results.

The community of Punkin Center, perhaps half an hour's drive to the south of here, is sometimes cut off for a month (or more) at a time waiting for Tonto Creek to go down enough to safely cross. And at least once every other year or so, I've had to report the death(s) of one, two, or more people who decided to forge it anyway.

There's a bill before Congress to pay for an all-weather bridge across the creek, despite some officials who argue that if these people live in a flood plain they have no right to ask the Feds to bail them out.

Nice theory. So shall we therefore condemn every city back east and up north, if it has a bridge across a river? Shall we tell residents, "Sorry, you shouldn't live on that side of the river. You should walk away from everything you own - home, land, all of it - to live on the right side of the river"? Why not tell that to the folks who live along the coastlines that keep getting slammed by hurricanes? Or in the tornado belt? Or along earthquake faults? When it comes down to it, everyplace you live has its risks and its advantages. Congress needs to get over itself in about a thousand ways.

Sorry, I'll put the soapbox away. That was the entry before last.

And yes, the irony is that Tonto Creek is indeed substantially larger than the East Verde River.

My last few entries have generated not only more comments, but more lengthy comments from the folks who read here. I'm glad; I had a feeling that my last entry, in particular, would hit home for a lot of people. It's reassuring to me that it did. I guess in some ways I'm not entirely outside what's considered "normal." And despite tongue-in-cheek quips about not wanting to fall too far outside what's considered normal, we all strive to achieve that nebulous title, at least insomuch as our emotional and mental health.

One more note before I go for the day. I am FINALLY NEARLY DONE with my never-ending story! I only posted a little more to it last night. However, I know how I'm going to end it. Now all I have to do is go back and edit it to fill about a thousand plot holes and make it viable for publication! Well, that and swear a few more times at Diaryland. Since that's an unpaid account, I can only post when the whims of the system permit - and for some reason the system did NOT want to permit me to enter anything new. Oh, it would accept the entry, but if you tried to log in to see it and were signed in under another name (including this one!) you couldn't access the new posts.

Ugh. I knew I needed to move the thing off of Diaryland, anyway, even though I don't have any readers. It's still annoying, because I use this spot to archive the sucker. And I can't even access it myself unless I'm signed into that name. Andrew's system apparently has taken to holding posts hostage to insure that you'll pay for the right to post them.

He has a right, I suppose; but that doesn't make me happy about it.

It's only taken me 20 years to get it written. I figure another twenty years and it'll be ready for submission, hehehe.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )