Stillness. No breeze, no sound of human transports. The tiniest sounds become evident: Plips of grasshoppers jumping, a bird’s feet rustling on a branch, a mosquito 10 feet away. Each footstep sounds like an outrageous intrusion. But I keep disturbing the peace and revel in the wondrous stillness. As the sun sets in the clouding sky I run into a rare creature whose purple nose betrays a recent binge of prickly pear fruits.
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In the morning light I almost stepped on the Gila Monster climbing the rock narrows I was descending. A timely hiss saved us both from a close confrontation, and my sitting quietly nearby while I took some photos calmed us both. Further along, spotted a frog the size of a thumb-end and gawked at a spider having some breakfast, then squished through mud into the remodeled Agua Verde River bed, featuring actual flowing water.
The rains arise in the afternoons under towering clouds, mountain ranges disappear from view behind curtains of rain that seems to dawdle in the air as it falls. Everywhere the water flows is reshaped and sorted. Large heavy objects are moved thousands of feet downstream or into treetops. Mud layers appear in new places as do rocks. Trees find new clumps of debris hugging them in the morning; branches, roots, household items, fencing, signs, metal carts, old metal drums.
A hidden set of life forms emerges (tiny frogs) and the usual suspects are more active.The barrels flower, the prickly pear fruits swell, drop, and get eaten. At night the widespread sonorous frog sound is surreal in the desert air. Where did they come from, and where do they go when it is dry? Magic. Now you see it, now you don’t.