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asploring: nature’s beauty

A small prickly pear cactus. Each pad is adorned with spines, some two inches long. The pads themselves are mottled green & red.

… or spikiness, as the case may be. But even the spiky can be beautiful.

I knew this flower as Indian Paintbrush but it occurred to me that 1) probably the name is kind of racist & 2) probably the people who lived here first have another name for it so I went looking. The Dine name, it turns out, is Dahiitįį́hídą́ą́’tsoh & you may click on it for the pronunciation. I will need to listen to it a BUNCH more times before I’m willing to give it a try on my own, but putting in the effort seems only appropriate.

Anyway, they’re really gorgeous. & it turns out the flowers are edible!

Low green plants. Each one has a single stalk from which grow lots of long, narrow leaves, & each is topped with a bright orange flower.

We walked out to the Grandmother Piñon. I wish we’d been able to get a decent picture to show how truly HUGE she is, but, alas. She is old, though, & strong, & beautiful.

Grandmother pinyon, from maybe five feet away. Her trunk is a foot & a half across at the bottom, & her branches spread & rise to the skies.  The photo was taken from under her canopy & most of her foliage isn't even in the shot, though there's a bit showing behind her branches.

Her limbs house colonies of symbiotic lichens …

A horizontal branch about a foot thick holds clusters of lichens -- grey, pale green, & small spots of dark orange.

… & she drips with piñon resin. I took some from the trees around her, carefully, but I left hers alone.

Looking up into some of her smaller branches. Blue sky is visible beyond, & several places on her bark are covered with amber-coloured resin.

I will SO VERY be going out there again, to sit & rest under her branches.

& maybe next time I’ll manage a decent picture.

(all photos by Inoru, who did just fine, Grandmother Piñon is just too big)


This was posted originally to my Patreon, a little over a week ago.

If you want to see these posts sooner, & not incidentally help support me & my cats in our travels & such, the way to do that is to sign up as one of my Patrons for as little as a buck a month.

I’d REALLY like that.