While wildflowers teach me to pause and be present, the shy desert birds persuade me to tiptoe silently along prickly paths so I might spot the feathered travelers darting among the thorny branches of an ocotillo, scurrying under the scrub of a creosote, burying tail-feathers in the dense foliage of a pyracantha, perching on the tip of a saguaro.
They hide. Watching. Waiting. Hoping I move on.
But their musical undercurrent quells my restless spirit and I linger. Listening. Learning to be patient until I again hear notes flit up and down an imaginary scale, fluctuating in pitch, tempo, and inflection. I notice the deep-throated gurgle of a Cactus Wren, the high-pitched call of the Gila Woodpecker, the mournful song of a lonely Roadrunner, the chirp at daybreak from the Pyrrhuloxia, the rapturous serenade of a Curve-billed Thrasher.
In listening, I learn to see all that endears me to life in the Arizona desert. And with each click of the camera, I sing my own song of joyful appreciation.
Male Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus)
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