Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert - Part 2

Brittlebush displayThe brittlebush creates splashes of color on hillsides all over the desert. Descending via Montezuma Valley Road (highway S22), we saw brittlebush all along the road. These wildflowers were also numerous along the Palm Canyon Trail (especially the alternate trail) and Little Surprise Canyon Trail.
Voracious caterpillar, bane of the bloomsBesides heat, these caterpillars are a reason why wildflowers disappear.
Unidentified field of white flowers glowing in the late afternoon lightIf I were a botanist I could tell you the name of this unidentified field of white flowers glowing in the late afternoon light at Little Surprise Canyon.
Brittlebush closeupCloseup of a brittlebush bloom.
Broom-rape, a parasitic wildflowerBroom-rape, a parasitic wildflower.
Desert chicory closeupCloseup of a desert chicory bloom with its etched petals.
Desert poppy closeupCloseup of a desert poppy bloom.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert

The alternate trail to Palm Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State ParkWhile a bit past its prime, the spring wildflower blooms were still plentiful in Anza-Borrego this week. The hike to Palm Canyon, an easy 3-mile roundtrip, gives you a waterfall, a stream, and a palm grove (in the wild!) of California fan palm (the only palm tree native to California). And, of course, many species of wildflowers. In this photo, the yellow are brittlebush and the large cactus on the left is an ocotillo. Here is a sampling of some blooming cactus for you.
Barrel cactus in bloomBarrel Cactus
Beavertail cactus in bloomBeavertail Cactus
Teddy-Bear cholla in bloomTeddy-Bear cactus (also known as “jumping cactus”)
A desert trio (Ocotillo, Brittlebush, and Beavertail cactus)A trio of plants: Brittlebush in the foreground, Beavertail cactus, and the lower portion of an Ocotillo. Stately ocotilloFinally, here is a stately ocotillo with its crimson blooms waving high and majestic. More wildflower photos to come.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Old Chevy Truck

Old Chevy Truck
  • The incongruency of the broken window and the steering wheel anti-theft lock;
  • The beauty of the old: primer, rust, and paint;
  • The rounded shape of the hood, the mirror, the tire;
  • The shiny red rim.
It's a Beaut.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pattern Recognition - Gate Recognition - Gait Recognition

Swiss Chard Leaf PatternPatterns are everywhere.

There’s something to be said about knowing the people you love. Of course, you know what they look like. You know their expressions, their gestures, and their body language. What amazes me is how we internalize intricate patterns which we use to recognize people we know from very far away. Far enough away that although you can’t see a face or the details of their clothing, you can still pick them out of a crowd. I have done this numerous times. We all have.

At the airport I watch throngs of people trudge from the arrival gate to the descending escalator that will take them to baggage claim. People are clumped in arbitrary groups. Yet, I still recognize the one I’ve come to collect. I see his gait. It’s him. No question.

Waiting for my daughter at the finish line of one of her races, I scan the pockets of runners finishing. Runners come to the finish in clumps, making it hard to pick out individuals. Yet, without fail, I always spot my daughter. Again, my pattern recognition hones in and lets me identify my target.

Yards and yards down the beach, I watch my husband finishing up his run. From way far I away I see him. I know it’s him.

Gait recognition. Gate Recognition. Pattern Recognition.