We have had more snow this year where I live than the past several years. It has come in several waves, covering everything in glistening white, then melting into pools that fill the roadside ditches and spill out from backyards onto sidewalks. But this is also fairly high elevation. My recording studio rests somewhere between 6,500 and 7,000 feet, so generally, of snow is going to fall, we’re going to get it.
But a few thousand feet below, the Arizona desert begins, and cascades from the edge of the Mogollon Rim down into low, rocky hills full of cactus and other plants that bite, wildflowers, scurrying reptiles, and sometimes winding creeks. After snow like this in the mountains, those creeks are actually a bit dangerous in places, but in some places they just serve to carry life giving nutrients and moisture to an often inhospitable landscape. it’s at those times the desert comes alive and seems to vibrate with activity and excitement. These are some moments from a hike we took at the Ballantine trail, about 40 or 50 miles northeast of Phoenix. It was a perfect day.