Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Memoir Monday--Spring in the High Desert

I'm not sure when I really began to notice the seasons and the attendant weather and other changes, but probably in the mid 1950s when we got into the livestock business. When you are caring for animals, these things really matter. I watched for the first green plants to appear as did the horses and mules. They were tired of dry hay and ready for some fresh "salad". Two of the plants that appeared early were Filaree and Globe Mallow. Both were okay for grazing and would not harm the critters who ate them. I still look for them out of habit and saw a few coming out here before my recent trip to Alaska.

One constant for all the years still remains. The various types of mesquite are very prevalent in the
New mesquites while I train Buzzie
whole southwestern region  from Texas into parts of California. The Verde Valley was about the same elevation as the Las Cruces area here in NM  but being a few degrees farther north had a climate much like Alamogordo which is about 2,000 feet higher. I am sure the winters were colder, longer and wetter back through at least the middle seventies although change had begun by then. Still I always knew that when the first green leaflets appeared on the mesquites,another frost was very unlikely. In fact I cannot ever recall mesquites being burned black by a late frost. If there was one, it would be light enough to do little harm.

That sweet ,fragile shade of green just says 'spring' to me like nothing else. Although fall is my
Budding mesquite, Alamogordo, 2013
favorite season, spring is a close second. Both are often fleeting here in the southwest with abrupt shifts from not-summer to really-summer instead of the four seasons seen elsewhere. There is the wind,too, the only down side in this change of patterns, but the rest, when you can grab a few days, is just wonderful. And it is here. I came home from Alaska on the 15th going from a temperature of about +10 with wind chill down to zero or below the evening of the 14th and got off the final plane in El Paso to the mid 80s! And the last few days have seen it nudging 90 in the middle of the afternoon.

Fillaree Plant
My lilacs are bursting into bloom, the roses are budding and the apricot tree bloomed while I was gone but what really surprised me was the mesquites starting to leaf out. I just saw this yesterday. Back in the Verde Valley in Arizona that usually happened just a few weeks ahead of the end of school in late May. In Cochise County, down in southeastern Arizona, I remember seeing the early hints about the first of May. I am sure of the date because our VFW Post celebrated "Loyalty Day" the weekend closest to May 1. This was originally established to counter the Workers' May  Day festivities in the Soviet countries. Before I left that area in 2008, I do not remember greening mesquites before at least a week or two into April. The hummingbirds usually arrived just a bit sooner. The cottonwoods, such as grew up on Fort Huachuca, would be coming out much earlier and they did get nipped now and then. I will have to check those down in Alameda Park by the main drag and railroad tracks there o see if they have come out. At any rate, once again spring comes to the high desert and I welcome it, still in awe of Nature's miracle of rebirth and renewal, the ageless and faithful promise ever sacred and precious.

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