A Healing Place

“Take her to Arizona,” doctors advised first my parents and then my husband, as if going to the desert was some magic remedy for all that ailed me.  Might as well have told me to go to the moon, the possibility of such a journey always just beyond our reach.  Until my husband found a way, deciding to drive me across country in a home on wheels.

Dry air, warm days and cool nights proved to be exactly the elixir the doctors had promised.  Absent the allergens of home, I was able to forgo the anti-histamines, and inhalers that my system had become so dependent upon.  I discovered renewed energy, gained strength, and felt hopeful for recovery. We were there for five weeks.

This year we’re going for three months.  Three months to revitalize my body.  Imagine the possibilities.

Desert days shine blue,
arid temperatures heal –
breathing made easy.

(Submitted for Twenty Four’s 50 word Thursday.  Image provided as part of the challenge.)

Lens-Artists: Big Can Be Beautiful

Beautiful are the large rock sculptures of Joshua Tree National Park.

TontoCanyon

The large canyons in Arizona are also beautiful, although I’m too afraid of heights to get any closer than this.

Ahinga2

This snake bird, or anhinga is quite a remarkable, big bird.

big bubble

My granddaughter and I think big is best when it comes to bubbles.

(For Lens-Artists Challenge: Big Can Be Beautiful.)

Photo a Week: From the Back

As the weather turns here, and our aging bodies start to complain, we find ourselves dreaming of warmer climates.  Arizona is the state that calls to me.  I decided to revisit my pictures from last year for this challenge.

Horseback riders follow the river’s edge in search of the wild horses.

resting

Coon’s Bluff, where these photos are taken, is one of favourite spots.  Ric hates having his picture taken, so I capture him from behind.  He is my cherished husband – so I figure it’s my right.

stallview

Another favoured spot to explore in Arizona is the Water Ranch at Gilbert.  This Common Poorwill took up residence in the bathroom while we were there, and I decided to use the stall behind it – just in case it woke up and caught me indisposed.

All going well, we’ll be back in Arizona this winter.

(Submitted for Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge:  from the back)

Photo A Week: Water

Water, I confess, holds me in its spell –
I would follow it across the land
from the Oregon coast, and ocean swell
to the Arizona rivers, oh so grand:

Coon's

Set me by a waterfall and I will swoon,
mesmerized by such awesome power,
even deafened by its thunderous boom,
I could watch the motion hour upon hour.

rocksinfalls

When travel is done, and I’ve come home to roost,
I hope that the scenery will be tranquil and calm,
for there is not a mood that water can’t boost –
undeniably, it is Nature’s medicinal balm.

calm before

(For Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: water.  Featured image is Oregon coast; Arizona shot is Salt River at Coon’s Bluff;  the waterfall is Englishman’s River, Vancouver Island; and the tranquil scene was taken recently at the Watson Mill along the Rideau river, Manotick, Ontario. All photos are my personal collection.)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Fences

Fences? My first reaction was that I avoid fences in my photography, and now that we’ve moved into a neighbourhood without them, I will not be able to participate.  Then, I revisited old photographs, and what do you know?  Fences!

The featured image is a garden gate at the Butchart Botanical Gardens in Victoria, B.C. The sign says ‘Private’ which is a disappointment.  There is something so alluring about a garden gate.

VJinrainforest

Further up the island is the Cathedral Grove.  The fences here are to keep visitors on the path and protect the wildlife.  I hardly noticed the rails as the eye is drawn upward.

PatioAZ

Eclectic fencing converts this parking lot into an intimate patio for pub-goers in Apache Junction, AZ.

While looking for fences, I came across this photograph, taken in Joshua Tree RV Park, California.  It even inspired a poem:

Fences

(Thank you to Leya for hosting this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Fences.)

 

Bill Williams River

Flycatcher BWriverJust outside the visitor centre for Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge is a well manicured and paved walkway that leads down to the water with several covered stops along the way.  The day we decided to visit was quite warm, and as I still haven’t quite recovered from Sedona’s excursions, I was happy to take it easy.

We arrived mid-day and were immediately welcomed by a flash of yellow under wings.  I followed the bird for a bit until he landed in a bush and happily posed for this picture.  (I’m assuming he’s a flycatcher, and would be pleased if someone could let me know.)

Anna'shummA hummingbird sat in a nearby bush and was equally undisturbed by my presence.  As the sun was behind me, this made for an excellent look at the bright, gem-like iridescence of the bird, whom I believe to be an Anna’s Hummingbird.

Where we stopped is just a small portion of this large refuge, better seen by kayak or canoe as there is a large marshy area accessible only by watercraft.  Docks were set up along the walkway for fishing, so this is not just a birding sanctuary.

2grebesA large party of waterfowl were gathered across the river from us, among them this pair of Clark’s grebes.  Even from a distance, these lovely birds have a distinct appearance.

Several lizards scrambled about our feet, and warning signs were up to watch for snakes, but we didn’t have any untoward encounters.  We did, however, see a rather large, rectangular, beetle which was interesting.

birdsanctuary.pngIf I hadn’t been so tired – with so much more we wanted to see – I might have done nothing more than sit and ponder the water, the mountains, the sky and the lulling contrasting colours of this Arizona paradise.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

coloradoblueAlong the Colorado, an hour or so north of Quartzsite, is the city of Lake Havasu, home to the London Bridge (yes, the British one).

“I seem to remember a story about this bridge,” I tell Ric.  “Something about how when they bought it they thought they were getting the Tower Bridge.”

The London bridge is a long expanse of bridge that we drove over twice before realizing it.  It’s that unremarkable, and yet, Lake Havasu has made the most of it, with signs announcing its presence and a whole resort built up around it.  Good for them.

ParkerDamnviewThe city, however, does not need a claim to fame:  it has water, and mountains, and screams:  I want to live here!  In fact, Ric asked me to look up the cost of real estate.

The first night we arrived, it was just before sunset and we were tired, but the drive up was spectacular so we decided to return.

“Let’s cruise along the California side,” Ric suggested.  “We can cross back over at Parker Damn, and then head up.”

So we took the long route, through a lot of very barren and desolate desert areas, until just before the damn, where we rejoined the Colorado river and the spectacular views.

greetingpartySigns all along warned us about burros on the roadway and requested that we not feed them.  As promised, there they were, clearly begging for forbidden snacks.  Apparently people can’t read because these cute critters set up a greeting party in anticipation.

The colour of the Colorado river is shockingly blue.   Ric says it is because the source of the water is glacial.  I’ll have to trust him on that one.

BuffleheadLake Havasu has a natural area, but it was further north, so we decided not to do it.  Instead we found a lovely rotary park and sat there with the ducks and the sounds of children playing around us and watched the sunset.

What a glorious day.

Oh, and we might have visited a Riparian bird sanctuary on the way too, but more about that tomorrow.

(Featured picture is a Lake Havasu City sunset.  First photo is the lake by day, followed by the view of the Colorado from Parker Damn.  The burros are self-explanatory, and the Buffleheads are swimming at the rotary park as the sun went down.)