cypress.typepad.com > cypress in the desert April 2009

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IMG_6284

palo verde tree - in bloom.

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IMG_6287

this is a catchment basin for rain water from the mountains which stand on three sides of it. there is, if i understood my friend's explanation correctly, a cistern under the desert which holds the rain water, which goes into the cistern through this remarkably unnatural entrance.


California Fan Palm

California Fan Palm

the only fan palm native to California. This one in the garden at my friends' beautiful home in one of the Desert Cities.


California Palm and Pool

California Palm and Pool


Ocotillo 1

Ocotillo 1

These are amazing plants. I thought on first seeing them that they looked a great deal like the euphorbia crown of thorns i've had since the 70s, thorny. but as it turns out, they are of course a desert plant, and their blooms are remarkable and a wonderful scarlet.

the trunk of the plant looks like a cross between a beeswax candle and a faded arbutus tree, kind of. the trunk is smooth to the touch.


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IMG_6339

outside the oasis. the quality of the light is so brittle seeming. sharp.


Oasis

Oasis

this is a place i would like to go to again, and i would like to go to an oasis out in the desert somewhere, too.

it must have been in the 80s that afternoon [fahrenheit], and when we walked in under the fan palms [bearded, their old fronds not clipped off], next to the pool of water the temperature must have dropped 20 degrees. it was beautiful in there. i think of walking in there frequently, and i will do it again.


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these were irresistible to both the eye and the taste buds. saturday organic farmers market in La Quinta old town. sorry i forgot to take photos of the architecture, the square, or the variety of peppers. or the woman on the telephone, or her daughter. or the couple with the little dog in a snugglie type carrier.


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IMG_6366

these lovely little flowers were in proverbial carpets all over the desert in Joshua Tree National Park. We set off for Joshua Tree late in the morning, and would both have been happy to stay there for days [although i would have worried about scorpions in my tent there, i think]. such a beautiful place. and a little alarming too, frankly. the desert is a place where the fragility of life is apparent.

there were carpets of these lovely little flowers all over the desert. they were about 3" high.


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IMG_6373

beaver tail cactus in bloom. this fuchsia [goodness that looks odd] colour is common to many cacti.


Ocotillo 2 Flower

Ocotillo 2 Flower

see? i guess it's orangey scarlet, eh? and see the thorns?


Rocks 1

Rocks 1

these are simply amazing formations, there is every kind of arrangement, pile, stack, jumble. rounded and smoothed by water running, by the passage of billions of years, 75 of them actually. and huge. earthquakes have shaken the piles into shape and shapes. i would love to be there in the slanty afternoon sun for a couple of days of photos and then my lifetime to look at them.


Rocks 2

Rocks 2

There's a better shot of this particular formation that Nicky took, and i'll ask her for it. i love the lines and the dimples in this formation. i really can't bear those photos of someone in front of everything, but it would have been good for a sense of scale to have shot nicky in front of this, so you could see how huge it is.


Rocks 3

Rocks 3

and this is just so wonderful.


San Andreas Fault

San Andreas Fault

it was cold at the top of this mountain - Keys Lookout it was. windy too. and the kind of place that made me sharply aware of my fear of narrow paths. but i wouldn't have missed this. had there not been so much dust in the air you could see even more clearly the area where the San Andreas Fault runs. it's the dark horizontal stripe.