SnowBird Diaries
Hummingbird
Mon, 12 Mar 2007
Dear Virginia,

I wrote this over a week ago but didn't get to send it before heat drove us into a lovely mountain area where there was no phone service or Internet connection. We will go back down to the valley to Borrego Springs today to check our mail and I'll send it off then:

Written Mar. 6: Great to be in the desert again, after the long delay with illness in Santa Barbara. We are enjoying some of our favorite spots along Painted Canyon Rd, NE of Mecca on the fringe of the Orocopia Wilderness.

Up to today the weather has been perfect. Complete quiet here, good cell phone reception for our Cingular, but no internet on our Verizon wireless - tech guy said there's a blank spot NE of Mecca, altho he could find us on his map with the coordinates we gave him.

We are having fun learning to use our new GPS system altho it is hardly needed where we are now since the canyon only goes one-way, and as it narrows one repeatedly loses satellite contact.

This particular canyon (one of the first washes one passes after leaving the paved road, #66, as it heads up toward #10) has an area with more than 35 clumps of the desert milkweed, Asclepias albicans, such an extraordinary plant.

I nearly walked right into a hummingbird sitting on her nest, level with my eyes, on the end of a creosote branch over the trail. We both pretended we weren't there. She sat perfectly still facing the mud wall in her fluffy nest as large as a small apricot, but she rolled her eyes around to check me out. I backed up and walked around to the degree the narrow trail would permit and on the way back she was facing out towards the trail instead of the wall. The grey of her body and the nest perfectly matched the color of the fragile drooping creosote stem she had chosen. Her presence seemed a sign that not many folks have gone up this particular wash recently. Since they would have walked right into her.

Back to Indio tomorrow since I am expected to have weekly blood tests for coumadin levels up to the heart surgery on March 27th at Marin Gen. Hosp. Wish all that was already behind me. Then after a night at the Elks we'll go back to Borrego Springs. Easier for me to walk in Borrego Palm Canyon when it is warm since the western trail is in shade from 4pm on.

Bill did a great sketch and a couple of acrylics here along Painted Canyon Rd - getting his hand back into it after not doing any art work that long period in Santa Barbara while he worked on house maintenance projects.

Alas, the heart cell ablation surgery means we will have to cut short our desert visit and head north again towards our parking spot at the Elks in Petaluma by March 21 when I have a pre-op meeting with the doc.

What is your news?

Love, H