A Continuing Series
Occasionally, I write about my experiences on my stealth trail in the desert out my doorway:
There has been trouble with the water pump the last couple of days. I got up early to work on it. There is overcast. The air is surprisingly cool for summer, about low seventies. I finally figure out the pump’s malady and then decide to trim some growth. Hackberry branches have been leaving scratches on my defenseless nude body.
There have been occasional sprinkles and intermittent light rain gently refresh me this morning. What a treat, just a light dousing of warm drops. The weather is so pleasurable, that I give time to several lingering outdoor chores to sustain my delight.
Lately, the weather has continued to be unusual. It just doesn’t rain in June, which is the hottest time of the year. Yet, when I had looked at the forecast, this stuff was said to continue. My son just finished a motorcycle road trip across the middle of the country and told me that everyplace he went, everyone just began talking about the weird weather. For us this has been six months of spring and rains instead of last year’s drought.
All that I hear this morning are birds and myself. One bird, a woodpecker, sits atop a large saguaro, as if commenting alarm each time that I clip another branch and it falls to the ground. “Okay Woody, that’s right.” They are comical personalities. The critters who have caused numerous saguaros to lose their tops are criticizing me for a few small branches.
Enjoying this delightful respite, I think to take a walk out to Havarock. The drizzle discontinues again, as I begin the little trek in my huaraches and nothing else. I had been hoping for a quiet walk in the rain, with drops all over. I imbibe the constant various aromas in the freshly cleaned air.
I have not been out there in a month or so, I’ve been busy and elsewhere. The trail has been washed and blown. Prickly debris is scattered. Footprints and tracks have disappeared. The trail is not as clearly marked, already, in this short time. I am surprised that I have to stop and rediscover my route several times.
There has been little to no rain the last few weeks. According to season, things would look more dried out while awaiting the monsoon, but here I stroll in fresh nurturing droplets.
I listen to the crunch of my leather soles on the newly exposed pebbles in the sand and I wonder if it might alert the javelinas to my presence.
There comes a thunder that rolls through. It is the rumbling of the mile long trains down in the valley 15 miles away. The low overcast sky reflects the sound, allowing it to travel much farther. Sometimes these mountains fill with this thunder, as if it were here that the train tracks lay. This is a place where calming silence is more common.
There begins another louder rumble to the east. I don’t look up at first, because I need to watch for new dangers and obstacles for my nearly bare feet. By the time that I stop to look, the sound has grown. Traveling across valley across from me, by my elevated view, are four dark military helicopters. They are flying two by two, slowly churning, like they had just returned from a mission dropping napalm. I think of FBI surveillance, me being photographed. I have begun to notice, that government aircraft no longer give me a sense of protection, nor security. The trust is gone, I feel vulnerable, picturing them being used in foreign places to suppress uprisings with impunity. Then, to my other side the roar of two military jets comes down to my ears, anti-tank jets, the low flying warthogs. Before the sound reaches my ear, they are already beside me to the west. It is like wandering, peacefully minding my own business in the hills, while a war is around me…it all passes.
The javalina are not home today, but there are signs of their presence. There is the digging, trails between bushes, and lack of vegetation in places where piles of dirt lay. The rain has moistened these spots. The soil is still darker with the fresh nutrients from below, not yet baked and blown away, not yet leaving an outside layer of lighter dry sandy color. This moister dropping from the air is disguising the telling colors, taking my clues as to how fresh the activities have been. I can’t know if they are gone for the day, or had left, maybe in search of water and fresher food, a week or more ago.
My stomach grumbles as I sit quietly on the granite lounger. I haven’t had breakfast today. I head home, quietly aware of each passing feature, the sharper spots of terrain through my thin soles, the stepping rocks becoming slightly less stable. I feel the calm without a breeze, I stop to take in the sights, taking note as to how and why the trail disappears by conditions. These subtleties may come in handy to protect the stealthful integrity of the trail, or future trails. They give me clues as to how to leave no trace and to know who came by and when, as I wander in the wilds, as a secluded naturist.
It is June; the heat of the day begins to warm the humid air. My flesh notices as the cloud shaded coolness of morning begins to yield to a monsoon-like humid heat. The air is still, less pleasant now, yet all is lovely and incredible.
Posting very soon: A visit to a retreat in Arivaipa Canyon.