As soon as I arrive at the house I unpack my paints, set up the boom box and get to work. I paint sand, birds, and grass to the songs of Norah Jones, John Denver and James Taylor. Then, to mix is up I listen to Trisha Yearwood and Colin Ray. It’s a funny thing about painting that often I think it’s all coming out wrong, then I walk away and come back to say, well, that’s not so bad after all! Every painting gets to a point where it’s just time to stop or you’ll make it worse. I stop and take a break. I thought I was done. I was going to head home but there is this one area I really don’t like, and…
Well, before I know it I am painting again. I fixed the area I wanted to, which was the grassy bank alongside the lighthouse, but then I messed with the sand a little too much for my liking. I may have to come back one more time to fix the sand and paint wildflowers on the grass, but for now the mural is done and the baby can come if it wants to! At least the parents can rearrange baby furniture now!
On Easter morning I take a short walk in the early morning sunlight. I discover wildflowers in the desert where the kids walk their dogs. Beyond the chain link fence around the schoolyard a lavender blanket of flowers covers the ground. From the rooftops the great-tailed grackles whistle sharply, piercing the calm Sunday morning with their shrill calls. Mourning doves coo from walkways and walls, or fly past my head at warp speed. Last time I was here I did a bird count. Great-tailed crackles and mourning doves rule this old cowboy town. However, I did find a nesting Anna’s hummingbird in an aspen tree near a playground, as well as an orange –crowned warbler and a red-shafted flicker in a newly landscaped water retention basin. The flicker looked so lost as it searched for food and refuge in its greatly diminished habitat.
Off Northern Ave an old farm still stands with livestock and barnyard birds still in residence. The crowing roosters awakened me the first night I slept here, but the use of a fan soon drown out their morning calls. Beyond the farm a brand new neighborhood has sprouted like wheat from the fields. It is lined up on the eastern edge of what's left of the farmland and on the western side the older section of town stares back. I've no doubt the new homes will creep across the remaining grass until the two sides of town are nose to nose. I stand at the corner and look at fallow fields and dilapidated barns but as I turn to head back perfect landscaping greets me at the corner of the neighborhood. This agave plant is spouting an asparagus shaped bud that will soon tower over my head in bloom.
Today I point my vehicle southward and home. Once more the gray asphalt ribbon spreads before me. As I drive past the Arizona Children’s home on Rt. 87 I see large black birds in old dead trees near the road. As I pass by I suddenly realize they are vultures and I am tempted to go back and take pictures, for I do have the camera with me, but I was up until 2:30 this morning and I am anxious to beat the traffic and get home to Gus. Farther down the road I notice perfectly square bales of hay strewn across one of those green fields I saw yesterday on my drive up. With the sun slanting softly across the flat land illuminating the mountains beyond I actually did start to pull the car over, it was almost too much to resist, but at the last moment I speed up again and continue home. This photo of a green Easter sunrise lives only in my mind.