By nature, I am not a person of the desert. But this landscape is slowly seeping into my being.
Mountain Man and I drove out to the McDowell Mountains today for an afternoon of rock climbing. It was breathtakingly beautiful, with springtime wildflowers and the honeyed sunshine of late afternoon. Deep blue lupines, radiant golden poppies, and luxuriant green grasses carpeted the hillslopes. Here and there, a Parry's Penstemon stood up like a fuschia sparkler.
The most exhilarating part of the day was our encounter with a Red-Tailed Hawk. While we were up on the cliff, the hawk kept soaring back and forth below us. It was magnificent, and I felt my heart skip a beat every time I saw it fly past or heard its call.
We reckoned that the hawk's nest was on the same granite crag that we were climbing, but we had no idea how close we'd come to it until we were rappelling down at the very end of the day. The crack that we'd just climbed took us within 20 feet of that beautiful bird's nest.
It was a spectacular feat of engineering, carefully constructed some 100 feet up the face of the cliff. Inside the nest, nestled among soft grasses and leaves and feathers, were three perfect eggs. Magical.
Back down at the ground, we watched the mama bird swoop back in to her nest and hunker down. She must have been relieved to see us off the cliff, and we, in turn, were relieved to see her return.
There was some knitting today, but it seems prosaic after all this natural splendor, so I think I'll leave that to talk about another day.