The Taproot

I spent most of my youth chasing destinations before learning that no matter how far you go, your roots will always follow, dragging around like entrails. I was convinced they were as shallow as the cacti; the saguaro can grow up to 60 feet tall, with only 4-6 inch roots. But then I discovered they extend as far as they are tall. Also, there is a secret that anchors this mammoth two feet deep — the taproot.


As you can see here, the taproot is unmoving, even in death.
The taproot is unmoving, even in decay.

The desert is in full bloom now. The orange blossoms and acacia flowers ride the winds, swirling around like aromatic tumbleweeds, bowling down the streets while people stop and inhale with closed eyes. Even the cacti hide color like easter eggs, proving beauty will find its way in even the most unforgiving places.

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You can’t beat the Arizona highways. All these photos were taken with my camera phone, without stopping. Imagine if I did stop and had the right camera… (aw, who am I kidding…my kids wouldn’t allow it). Here is the Santa Fe train moving north to Tucson, passing a mine in the mountain.


A dusty sunset.
A dusty sunset.
Then finally, the lingering glow.
The last swallow of day.

We got a lot of rain recently. The desert responses with greed and gratitude — greed in that you have to watch out for flooding, and gratitude following with a slow absorption.


I ran into a coyote the other day. He’s hard to spot, but look at the bottom of the saguaro. We stared at each other for a good minute before he was bored with me.


The fragrant creosote is the signature scent of the Sonoran desert. It, too, is in full bloom, speckling the mountains with color and running like lazy, yellow rivers in the lower basins.


Spring always comes earlier in the desert. You’re either drunk with it, or heading down the Allegra/Claritin aisle at the local drugstore. Hopefully it’s the former.

Happy spring to you all!


7 thoughts on “The Taproot

    1. desertdweller29

      Thanks, Professor. Those coyotes sure get around, don’t they? Hopefully they don’t wake you at night they way they do here. They can be as noisy as a garage band of 16 year olds. Puts a whole new spin on party animals. 🙂

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