There's some highly unusual flora and fauna living in the desert of the American southwest, and I am not just referring to family members who are vacationing down here. I have learned so many names for cacti since arriving. Evidently that which I have always called Bugs Bunny cactus is really known as Saguaro. There's also the Teddy Bear Cholla (which literally attacks you when you walk by,) and a bunch of other weird and wonderful ones whose names I have written down somewhere but can't think of offhand.
I especially like the Palo Verde tree, which has a bright green trunk that produces chlorophyll. It reminds me of the blue-painted trees we saw last time we were in Seattle, except of course that these trees are naturally tinted and Seattle could not be more opposite from Arizona.
We were lucky enough to spot a little lizard sunning itself outside the condo on the first day, as well as a hummingbird and a whole bunch of cute little quails (the Chicken McNuggets of the desert) and they run really fast with their little top-notted heads abobbing.
I thought it was pretty cool that after all the heart-warming family friendly statues that we admired outside the library (where a young mini Jimi Hendrix was coaxing distorted tears out of his electric guitar, sending vibes across the mesas), I spotted a rather fierce statue of a mountain lion tearing the innards from some small desert creature. I was admiring the bravery of the juxtaposition until my family pointed out that it was actually a mother carrying her cub. D'Oh!
Day one of the Great Southwest Desert Odyssey was fabulous. To come - Taliesin West, the Heard Museum, major league spring training and family shenanigans.