Thursday, September 18, 2014

Walnut Canyon, New Mexico

My mind is on Walnut Canyon this morning and a recent trip there I made on an early summer evening when the sunlight was just beginning to cover up the desert mountains of southeast New Mexico. This road leads visitors up through Walnut Canyon to the visitor center and entrance to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

From this roadside perspective, I could see and hear the sights and sounds of the canyon going to sleep. I wished I had a time lapse camera to photograph the changes in the canyon. The evening was still and the arid air was perfect for taking in a relaxing view of the canyons below me.

The reason my mind came back today, three months after my visit there, was that the local news about the southwest getting lots of rain lately and canyons were flooding there, including Walnut Canyon. They are getting hit again with even more beneficial rains coming from the tropical systems in Mexico.

So, the dry canyon I viewed on my recent trip were flowing today instead of dry. The animals and plants are enjoying a good drink. Sometimes the government closes the canyon and Carlsbad Caverns for safety reasons. They always enjoy a good administrative closure when they can.

I have seen this canyon and other canyons in the area (McKittrick Canyon, Pine Canyon) roaring with incredible force and power and it is always great to see huge boulders tumbling and rolling down the gorges where a few hours before you could never imaging such a thing happening.

Back in June, though, there wasn't even a hint of rains so, after my starlight serenade began with crickets and other night sounds on the roadside park, it was time to go home to my little camper down the canyon.

The Chihuhuan Desert should really come alive next spring if these rains keep their promise.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Water Lily Garden

I thought it was about time I took another look downtown at the new improvements at our Water Lily Garden. The updates are very impressive and it is just in time as our River Fest celebration is coming up this weekend and thousands of visitors will be in town with the locals to enjoy what the North and South Concho rivers have brought to the community.
 The water lily garden is recognized around the world as one of the most inclusive and impressive such collections. I would not have normally gone out of my way to see a collection of lily pads but since it is near me, I am glad I took the time this morning to see what it is all about.
 I've posted about it before years ago but since then new upgrades and improvements have been made and I am impressed with it all. A new outdoor stage and amphitheatre is being constructed and new pools for even more water features are also being developed.
 Don't ask me the names of these beautiful plants. If they don't have spines or thorns on them, I have no idea what they are but I am told they come from all corners of the world and seem to thrive in our climate.
 Bird-of-Paradise (below) blooms all summer and fall here in west Texas. No maintenance is needed and it flourishes here.
 The banks of the sunken garden area are covered in native plants and with recent cooler temperatures and the rain showers this morning, they are in good health for showing off.
 I over heard some of the city groundskeepers workers trimming and cleaning the gardens and pools this morning and they were enjoying every bit of their work. They were talking about what they and their families did this weekend and catching up on the ball game scores from the weekend. Some hearty laughs and encouraging conversations could be clearly heard in the morning air. I know they are happy to see the cooler season arrive after our hot and dry summer.
I am really enjoying the quiet and tranquil times that retirement has brought me. Every day is filled with something new that has always been there but I did not take the time to see it because I was busy. Even the simple thing of insects and tiny flowers blooming has brought me great pleasure and contentment. Worries and concerns of the Work World have evaporated for me.

I wonder if I should feel guilty.

Not yet.
If you may be in west Texas this weekend, you may enjoy spending time at our local River Fest. Click here for more information.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

West Texas Murals

Murals always catch my eyes when I am out and about. Whether it is at home or on the road, these beautiful paintings on the sides of large buildings always makes me pull over and take a long look at the detail and the story they are conveying.

Sometimes I am lucky enough to see the artist at work on one of their paint jobs. It takes a long time to plan and paint these artworks.

photo courtesy of

Some are inside public buildings like these inside of a science building at a state university in Alpine, Texas. These were done many years ago and have been recently touched up and protected from the elements that would cause them to fade or flake off.

I wonder if advertisements can be considered murals?
I am sure there is a coffee table book somewhere that shows all of these awesome murals but nothing can compare of the experience of standing on a street corner on a beautiful autumn day admiring the hard work and impressions offered by murals.

These murals were from the Big Bend area of Texas.

A cold front has moved in today. Forecasters are saying it is the probable end of our 100+ degree days for 2014. I am glad. They say the front will bring us some much needed rain. They are also saying El Nino will be with us this winter bringing increasing chances of good moisture. Hope so.