Archive for June 2015

A Hike to See My Buds   1 comment

Imagine that you’re out walking with me in the hot Arizona sunlight. There is a cactus garden just a couple blocks from my apartment. It has attracted my attention lately by coming into bloom.

A few days ago, I took these pictures.  I made a special trip  to come back and take these pictures because I saw the flower at night but did not have enough ambient light to get a picture of it then.

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While I was there I noticed these outstanding buds. Remember this picture. It is the “BEFORE” shot.

Although I have lived in Arizona all my life, I had no idea what kind of cactus it is. I tell you one thing. You don’t find this plant growing wild in the Sonoran Desert. I asked about it and got this reply:

Mari Volmar smile emoticon It’s a night-blooming cactus called Cereus Peruvianus or Apple Cactus.

Night blooming, eh? I decided I wanted to come back and catch a picture of a flower blooming at night. The one above was still blooming by day–early morning anyway.


When you cut or break through the big pulpy limbs you can see that each branch is a kind of 3-D star. This caused me to mentally name it a Star cactus. There were many stars I could have photographed, but I chose this one because it has 8 points, and 8 is the number of Chaos. Those of you who know me also know of my allegiance (or at least lip service) to Chaos.

Last night I went by it again at night and caught this flower in full bloom.


I took this picture just before midnight. This flower, not here three days ago, is a star. The condo unit that created this cactus garden had a floodlamp lighting up their name sign and also providing enough light for me to get this picture.

Night blooming, yeah. There were some others in bloom, but not in as good a position for me to catch them in a photo.

This morning (June 12, 2015) I wanted to see how my night-blooming buddy was doing, so I got out of the house early and went to see him/her/it. Do flowers have sex?


and here it is. This is the exact same flower that was in full bloom 8 hours before. You can see that it has closed itself up. I am amazed that plants have this much mobility.


Remember those big buds I showed you up above in the “BEFORE” picture? This is the “AFTER” picture. You can see that they are not as tightly closed as the flower up above. That means they are already starting to wilt and lose their essence. The life of a flower does not last long.


And is this the famed Peruvian cactus apple itself? It looks more like a plum, but definitely the same kind of fruit like a prickly pear. I think this might be edible. It might even be nutritious. However, I am not going to pick it and try to eat it just to find out.


The stars come in many different forms. A lot of them have 6 limbs. Let me digress into geology for a moment. This is a mixed assortment of roughly sorted river gravel, obviously brought in from somewhere else, since you won’t find that much variety in rock forms in this neighborhood. As you may know, I always keep my eyes open when I see a lot of rocks. I am looking for those with stripes in them–they are special.


Here is another flower hiding from the sunlight.


This one looks like it has an eye, and is watching.


These young ones are curious and happy to see me.


This guy is a real optimist.

It might be my imagination, but I got the impression that the cacti were pleased that I came  to see and celebrate them.


So, at the end they gave me a gift–a striped rock (milky quartz with basalt intrusions blasted into the vaculoes). This rock has a face, maybe more than one. Can you see it there in the top left part of the picture?


If you have communed with nature lately, and maybe learned anything from it, why not leave a comment?


Posted June 12, 2015 by atroll in Uncategorized

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Another Sunday Morning River Walk   Leave a comment

I went looking for man-made art this morning, but didn’t find any. So, I went down to the river to see what God and Man could do together.

Proof that some trolls have no difficulty with sunlight.

Proof that some trolls have no difficulty with sunlight.

I have never been to this section of the river bottom before. I found a one-lane park road that allowed me to drive right down to the edge of the river. (Not really the edge . . . as you can see I’m still a good 30 yards  away from the edge of the water.)


It almost looks like there are the ruins of a stone house down by the water.


Looking back at my trusty car and the 24th Street bridge . . .


Looking east toward the 32nd Street bridge . . . part of the attraction of these walks is all the bridges. I just like bridges. On the left side of the picture you can see Phoenix’s biggest landmark, Camelback Mountain. In the center are the McDowell Hills that separate east Phoenix from Scottsdale. Dimly visible in the far distance are the Superstition Mountains. Those mountains are at least 30 miles away. Although the weather is getting hot now (this picture was taken on June 7, 2015), you can still see a smattering of desert wildflowers. In fact, tiny yellow and white flowers are everywhere you look in the desert this time of year.


Looking across the river toward eastern Phoenix. The green line in the center of all the brown desert soil is the actual river with water in it.


This is the road that took me down to the river. The low green shrubs beside it are Russian thistle, also known as “tumbleweeds”.  These are not ready to tumble yet. By the end of the summer they will be all dried out and dead. That’s when they break off at the base and get blown around by any wind that comes along.


Tumbleweeds have flowers!  Who knew? When I was a kid (50  to 60 years ago), tumbleweeds were common in Phoenix. They grew anywhere there was some open ground. Now they are hard to find. Usually one thinks of them as brownish gray, detached, and bouncing across the desert. They are very light, and any breeze can pick them up and move them.


Was there a bridge or a boat landing here once upon a time?



Troll under bridge equals happy troll, even though the art that should be adorning these wide-open spaces has obviously been removed.


Looking up, up, up . . .  . . . .


West of the 24th Street bridge I found several  little monuments of rocks stacked and balanced atop each other. Someone had fun making this letter M.


Here is the whole monumental complex. Does it look like a face to you?


View of downtown Phoenix from across the river at 16th Street. This picture was taken about a week earlier than the others, but it makes a nice endpiece.


If you’ve ever gone walking in a riverbed, or even beside one, why not leave a comment?


Posted June 7, 2015 by atroll in Uncategorized

Cruising in Nueva Aztlan: Phoenix, Arizona   1 comment

On Sunday, May 31, 2015, early morning between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. I walked up and down 16th Street between Thomas and McDowell Road, and I saw a lot of wall art–some of it was pretty great. This blog only offers a small sample of what I saw, and the theme is motorized transportation–as a pleasure. The pix don’t really need much explanation.

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Two wheels can be as good or better than four.

Two wheels can be as good or better than four.

Bigger is better!

Low riding . . . into the sunset.


If you’ve ever cruised through Aztlan, why not leave a comment?


Posted June 1, 2015 by atroll in Uncategorized