Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ephemeral Lake

Yesterday was just another trip to Tucson, a city about 2 hours distant from the Double Barrel Ranch. Nearly an hour into my drive I pass a roadside attraction called The Thing? Several billboards entice you to stop for gas or gifts. And to find out about the “Mystery of the Desert.” I’ve often stopped there to stretch my legs and enjoy the view of several mountain ranges from this prominent point.

Just beyond is Texas Canyon, not really a canyon but a mountain pass. In the Old West days the Butterfield Overland Stage Coach route passed through here among giant granite boulders. A State of Arizona run Rest Area is located here and many tourists stop to photograph the unusual, large rocks laced with evergreen oaks. At least the Rest Area is still open, unlike many others that have closed due to budget cuts in these days of fiscal amputation.

After my day in the city I headed home at dusk and as I drove across the Sonoran Desert I saw the full moon emerge from clouds to make my path much brighter. Over the Texas Canyon pass, passed the Thing? and then downhill. After a few turns in the road I could look out at the normally bone-dry 60 square mile Willcox Playa. Instead it was shining like quicksilver in the moonlight. Recent heavy rains had filled it! People who live near the sea or lakes are probably shrugging their shoulders and thinking, so what? But I live in a desert. The chance combination of the rain, the full moon and me actually being there at the right time of night was serendipitous. Even after living here for nearly 22 years, Arizona still surprises me.