May 24, 2013

This soft, warm dawn invited the toloache to open its huge white trumpets on the road edge outside the main gate of Mason’s, their perfume drifts out visions of Georgia O’Keefe and other shamans who came before her, of O’Keefe’s revelations to us of a new worldview, of new worldviews revealed to Native Americans through ceremony using the plant, the glowing petals speak too of rites of passage and the passage of spring into summer. I must take all the pleasure I can from the sight of this spectacular plant now, for soon enough the road grader will come along and knife off all the gravel edges and then some, all the way up to our fence, Cochise County having proven the way it has that it will not suffer wildflowers to brighten this road any longer.

Once inside the gates and down to The Stockpond, I find another Spotted Sandpiper is there teetering through the mud, probably for the day. It should be about the last one that passes north. Through the increasing heat (just under 100 degrees again) the first Purple Martins that will fly low enough to skim the pond surface with open bill come along. There are only a few, but soon there will be large numbers of them dropping in for a drink before they return home to their saguaro mansions in which they nest up on the hills and low mountains. The birds must come from a good distance out on the desert; there aren’t very many large saguaros right around here.

After I move each of the wheel lines sixty feet to the north for their next set of waterings early tomorrow, a Swainson’s Hawk lands at the edge of the large puddle left out in the open where the irrigator tractor had been. Only 125 feet away from me the handsome bird of prey drinks at leisure, and acts like he’s not the least bit afraid of me. I come back a while later and find the hawk gone, but other raptors are there aplenty: Turkey Vultures. The ones who have already drunk their fill are standing around on the grass, or are perched on the pipe axles, and at the tractor itself one is sitting in the center atop the engine hood and each of the four wheels are topped off by a single big bird, some staring out at the countryside, some with wings spread in what The Turkey Vulture Society calls “horaltic pose”. (Imagine, a Turkey Vulture society!) The wheel line tractor fitted up as it was with black-feathered vultures looked appropriately like a Victorian hearse …