The chubascos come and they come, stirring the largest and most massive eruptions of flying ants I’ve ever seen hatch on the Desert. They simply fill the air, and getting through them on the roads in the truck is like driving through dark snow squalls, with black ice pellets rattling on the windshield. The sound makes my skin crawl. I race along to the Community Center under a sky that means business, walk quickly as can be managed up the rocky slope above and have some unreasonable hope that we’ve got somewhere with eliminating Buffelgrass up there and I won’t have to be delayed into being bait for the lightning that is already a-flash. And–there is no Buffelgrass! not a plant, not a seedling. Native grasses in new and surprising variety blanket everywhere, including the spaces we’d made by having pulled out Buffel over the last couple of years. A Cassin’s Sparrow sings out across the gulf of that wide arroyo as I rush into the truck! (The bird is all over the place this year, every spot but Mason’s that is, where I most expected them to return.) I have to get up the wash bottom near El Potrero to see about that formerly serious Buffelgrass colony I call Yvonne’s Buffelgrass Gulch, once full of the dangerous plants that had stair-stepped up from the sandy bottom flat right up to the mesa crest. Do I have a brain? Why do I end up doing this thing so often when there is the threat of getting turned into burnt toast by lightning? It’s not like life in these wilds isn’t thrilling enough that we need to search out even more excitement.
The lightning is coming in pairs by the time the search for clumps and seedlings of that Buffelgrass is wrapped up and the slope gives me to know the plants, here too, are gone!