Tuesday, 29 April 2014


For Michelle, Morgan and Jim who will know why:

Winter's chill has at long last released its unwelcome hold on the terrain.  The smooth rocks, gravel and wind-blown sand of the Sonoran Desert floor absorb spring's strengthening solar rays and like a radiator, disperse their warmth.  Too long in his dreary winter home, he tentatively emerges, lured by the season's inviting temperatures.  Needing to avoid others, he apprehensively moves into the sunny open desert and gratefully rests his heavy, winter-weary body on a time eroded rock.  Surrounded by columnar cacti and giant saguaros, who, like sentinels, guard his privacy, he allows himself the luxury of basking in the welcome Arizona sunshine.

Ever alert, he first senses a subtle change in the air.  Vibrations from deep below shatter his peace.  Predators trespassing on his land.  Danger?  Killers?  Not waiting to find out, he reluctantly vacates his sunny perch shrinking back into the murky shadows, camouflaging and concealing himself in the shade of a prickly pear.  On the intruders advance.  In fear he braces himself.

Continuing to encroach on his territory, the trespassers move bodily into view.  Fear evaporates, replaced by a resolute determination to survive, to protect himself.  His threatening rattle amplifies on the dry desert air as he coils his powerfully muscled length and prepares his venomous strike.

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