In this Land of Little Rain, where we are into the third month of our winter away from home (spring beginning to make some headway here in Arizona), on the edge of the city of Willcox there is a small lake, locally noteworthy as a place to watch birds. Sandhill cranes were in the vicinity for the early part of our mutual desert residence but by April have flown to summer homes in the North. Many water birds remain, however, and my 2015 memories of a vermilion flycatcher and loggerhead shrike are wedded to this place. A packed clay road (that becomes all but impassable mud during and after heavy rain) circles the pond, and one morning the Artist and I got it in mind to walk rather than drive the 1.3-mile road. Early morning, well before the heat of midday, is the best time for walking in the desert. Our presence scared up a couple of jackrabbits and delighted a swarm of tiny insects that accompanied our first few steps like halos above our heads. Rather lovely, aren't they?
One of the things I love about Willcox in general is that there are mountains in every direction. Look down any street, and at the farthest distance you see mountains. The same is true out at the bird-watching pond. While the sky and wind are different from day to day, the mountains remain the same and let you know exactly where you are.
At the far end of the lake from the country club golf course and Border Patrol facility, a mysterious “road to nowhere” piqued our curiosity, but we let the wonder remain unanswered and continued around the lake …
… because for the Artist, who keeps reminding me (unnecessarily) that he is a Pisces, the most important environmental feature there was not roads or mountains but water!
There are signs around the lake in both English and Spanish. Since I have been trying to learn Spanish, I was more interested in those signs. Do you understand them?
Most important of all, though, is the sunshine and open spaces. And oh, yes, the sight and scent of water!