Home in the Desert

A black-tailed jackrabbit sits in the Sonoran Desert in the Brown's Ranch section of McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona

As we make our home in the desert it is painfully clear to me as I hike, suited up with bottles of water and protective sun gear, that I will never be at home in the desert, not like they are, the animals who live here. This black-tailed jackrabbit can leap 5 or 10 feet at a time and reach speeds up to 40 mph, but on this morning it casually sauntered off into its desert home.

Portland, You Have to Let Me Go

This is what Portland looked like as the sun started to rise on the morning I was leaving for my interview in Arizona. It snowed the night before and iced up a little overnight but the trains were still running on time and I was able to walk down and take the train to the airport as planned. I loved seeing the snow one last time but all I wanted was an easy departure as I set out on the trip that would determine how we spend the next phase of our lives. I was sad I didn’t have time to go out and photograph the neighborhood in the snow, but I had a plane to catch, and at least I had my pictures from the heavier snow a year prior. This is resident philosopher Boo enjoying his last snow from one of our two picture windows at the front of the house, his future storms will not be so tranquil as they will be the occasional but ferocious summer thunderstorms of Arizona’s monsoon season.

Lair of the Desert Cat

Our orange tabby cat Sam looks out from a cardboard box, surrounded by brown wrapping paper

I was thinking of the desert when I took this picture not long before leaving for an interview in Arizona, knowing I might soon be working with a palette of the browns of the Southwest rather than the greens and blues of the Northwest. Sam is not yet a desert cat, and does not yet know he’s about to be a desert cat, that secret will keep for a few weeks. He’s had to adjust to a big change every few years, first the death of his beloved Scout (and the arrival of Boo), then the death of Emma (and the arrival of Trixie), and soon a long trip to his new home. His coloration might be perfectly suited for the desert but he will be, as he has been, an indoor cat.

Red Rocks

An American pika sits in red rocks in the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park

I came across this pika in red rocks somewhere in the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park during my trip in 2008. I say somewhere because for whatever reason I didn’t edit the original picture back then, so it never got added to my now defunct photo site and thus I never wrote about it. While the complete old site will never return, even in the blog there are 915 posts still offline, waiting for pictures to be re-edited and uploaded to Flickr. I’m keenly aware how dependent I am on Flickr for hosting my images and how even the rebuilt blog will go away if something happens to them. Over the years I’ve tried to think of a better solution where I’d be less dependent on the whims of other companies, on things outside my control, but I haven’t thought of one. Flickr doesn’t replicate my old site but it is better in many ways and provides a lot of functionality I can’t easily provide here.