Mountain, Arroyo and Valley

To think I once did this drive more often. Not that I’m totally into 220+ miles, but now I’m getting ideas as I decompress, like the old days!

The late afternoon sky, as it fades into sunset and dusk, is perfect.

7/17/2014, business trip to work with my project team in the City Different –

the Hatch Valley, Black Range of the Gila behind…

Over a century before the capitol of my new state home claimed it has the largest chile roasting event (ha!), that valley was one of several in the New Mexico region growing that special object of culinary interest. No matter whether you like red or green, or if you’re a Lobo or an Aggie.

I’m impartial, but I’m none of the latter, either.

something about shady and sunny patches, and desert hills…
the Caballo Mountains – good on full moon nights, mornings, afternoons…
Catclaw Acacia and other plant life filling an arroyo – a dry wash…

Arroyo appreciation, not always needing the narrow, wetter ribbon of the valley, is one sign a person has graduated to the desert.

Steve Martino, a landscape architect of the desert, once said “Nothing in the city was as interesting as the desert, especially the “Wash”. That is where the action is. This was my model for planting design”.

Rarely wet, usually dry…such an arroyo is a model for our city projects, where “flood”plain is not something one wants near structures. But seeing what an arroyo is about and applying that does take some work, but nothing like the futile work required to turn every home and commercial lot into a Sheboygans, only using cottonwoods, willows, sycamores and ashes!

Oneseed Juniper and Creosote Bush dotting their respective places on the hills, the light and shadow playing their parts, the Oscura Mountains beyond….

All above an arroyo, feeding such a narrow ribbon of the Rio Grande valley…both life-supporting. Neither more or less important. Balance.

those mountain ranges, and their orographically-enhanced precipitation events, are known to contribute to desert aquifers more than the river’s surface flow does in the low points…

3 Replies to “Mountain, Arroyo and Valley”

  1. Great post with wise advice as usual. It’s been interesting – a few decent rains this summer and many Central Texans have convinced themselves the drought is over and all our water problems are solved when of course nothing could be farther than the truth. The desert holds many long lessons for us if we would only attend to its teaching.

    Thanks. I noticed that until I checked the Texas drought maps. I also recall some dry, perennial creeks that looked like washes not far west of Austin, as the woodlands thin out to savanna…you are in one shifting area!


  2. The idea of using what is working in the arroyo can work for everyone everywhere. I need to be reminded of that from time to time.

    Though I forget how it looks / abstracts outside the desert!


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