The Road Closed, A Path Opens

A digger sits on a dirt road that is closed off in Scottsdale, Arizona on December 9, 2022. Original: _ZFC4265.NEF

I’ve been taking advantage of the cooler weather and Bear’s improving on-leash behavior to take the pup on longer walks, and as with Ellie in Portland I bring a camera along so I can take snapshots of the neighborhood when the mood strikes. I took this picture of Arizona’s favorite pastime, digging up the desert, on a road we hadn’t been down before, near where we turn around and start heading home.

It isn’t meant to be a depressing picture, after all our neighborhood would have been pristine desert several decades ago, and when we moved here I assumed all private land would turn into subdivisions in short order. The hopeful part lies in those mountains to the north, the eastern end of the massive northern section of McDowell Sonoran Preserve that is my favorite and which played a big part in my wanting to move here (I hike most in the middle). Behind me a ways is my other favorite part of the park, linking them is a narrow strip where I haven’t done much hiking.

A few days ago while walking Bear down this road I noticed a trail at the end leading into the desert, grabbing my hiking app sure enough it was a neighborhood trail into that little strip of the preserve, so Bear and I have started exploring this little area while I’m off for a week at the end of the year.

The Alphabet Machine

A close-up of a machine used to raise a house off its foundation

The machine I use to generate the letters and numbers that go into the posts you see here is an old one, full of knobs and dials and pneumatic valves. I’m a little jealous of the speed and convenience of keyboards I see on people’s laptops when I’m on the train, able to tap a key labeled ‘B’ and see a ‘B’ appear on the screen. But where’s the noise, the drama, the emotion?

A close-up of a machine used to raise a house off its foundation

It may be time to upgrade though. My machine can’t generate ‘@’ or ‘#’ signs, which is really holding me back on social media. I’ve been hoping the company would create an add-on (they call them Helper Outlets), like when Q, R, S, and T were added to the English language, but sadly that’s not going to happen.

A close-up of a machine used to raise a house off its foundation

I first came across this machine when I didn’t have my camera with me, it was being used to raise a house up several feet off its foundation. I kept forgetting to go and photograph it but finally got some pictures on a Friday when I had a few extra minutes in the morning, and took a few more on the way home at the end of the day. I’m glad I did, I next walked past two days later while walking Ellie and the machine was gone.