Tag: Arizona

You meet the nicest cacti in your dreams

Katharine got a candid moment of me selecting hats for the trail. None of them fit that well.

I’m back in Illinois, and the snow is back here, too. I was glad to go see my cousin and her bouncy little toddler, but I’d be lying if I said the primary motivation wasn’t to take my pretty gf to introduce her to the saguaros, who were all delighted to meet her.

We went hiking up a trail I hadn’t been to the end of the first time I went – that one was the source of the last post’s charming flora. Funnily enough, it was the site where she messaged me – before we were dating – teasing me about not being in the office. I was able to respond with a photo of the sweeping desert at dawn.

The Sonoran is a unique place – greener than you’d think if you’ve never been there. I could really get used to it, I think, especially when the winters are no cooler than an overnight low of 40 or so.

The other major thing I discovered this time was that every video game designer and fantasy author should really go on a horseback ride. It’s pretty revealing how difficult and tiring the activity is, even for the dumb sap sitting on top of the horse doing none of the heavy lifting.

Hitting the trail.

The saguaro stood perfectly still. Maybe the tiny mammals would just skitter away from her if she didn’t move.

The chollas ambled up the hill, hooting and hollering into the noonday sun.

The saguaro was certain he was well-hidden. Besides, he thought, human sight is movement-based.

“This is saguaro turf, motherfucker! Barrelheads don’t come up here!”

“Uuugh,” came a cry, in unison, from the saguaros. “Turn the light off!!!!”

Among the saguaros once more


The hills near Cave Creek. | Kenneth Lowe 2016


I’m visiting family in the Phoenix area for Thanksgiving, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the country. People who aren’t from here tend to think it’s a flat and featureless stretch of desert, but it’s a mountainous and majestic one in reality. There are all sorts of flora unique to the area, including the strange and mighty saguaro. These guys are probably my favorite plant in North America (the South American Sam├ín tree, which I don’t know if that’s what it’s really called, is my Other America favorite).

“Let me tell you why you should vote libertarian!!!”

Saguaros seem as if they have deep, idiosyncratic personalities. They are outwardly prickly, but can’t hide their expressiveness. They seem as if they are trying to tell us something, but that it just takes them a century or two to say it. It would be something, to stay here for a long stretch of time and bend an ear to them.

These photos are all from my trip two years ago, but I’ll see about posting some more after my hike today.

“Everybody have enough shade?”

The old lecturing the young.

Chollas, creeching real horrorshow as they go rolling into the night in search of the old ultraviolence.