The sun rises in a flame behind the cholla cactus as I begin my morning walk. Gus has dropped me at the bottom of Harrison Road at 6:40 a.m. It will be 2 miles and over 2 hours before I am home again.
If I walked straight home at a fast clip it wouldn't take me nearly this long, but I am counting birds and photographing wildflowers. There is so much to see and marvel at in this bright desert today.
The path wanders enticingly before me, and I eagerly follow.
Nearby on the barbed wire fence a Rufous-winged sparrow perches, anticipating the first warming rays of the sun.
A curved-billed thrasher has found its own spot for catching some rays.
When the sun finally breasts the desert's edge it illuminates everything. The first blossom of a Palo Verde tree opens its heart to the sun.
Mt Wrightston is still sprinkled with snow from Sunday's storm. The white-washed flanks of the mountain contrast with the new green leaves of the ocatillo.
A lesser goldfinch flies from the desert marigolds she was perched on.
Ocatillos rise in skies of blue.