Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Of Ravens and Hummingbirds

"And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting . . . ."

This was about the only similarity between Poe's Raven and the striking bird that visited us as we left Winslow and traveled to Phoenix. Although appearing to be completely uninterested in our presence, it was, in reality, very aware of our every move.

A brief stop at Walnut Canyon near Flagstaff led us to try to imagine living in the cliff dwellings along the canyon wall--when "living" included having to make daily trips to the bottom of the Canyon for water and to the rim of the Canyon to tend crops and livestock.
Even with concrete steps and a railing, the descent to the bottom of the canyon was exciting. Without these modern resources, the multiple trips to survive must have been challenging indeed.

As we entered I-17 to begin the Flagstaff-to-Phoenix leg of the day's trip, we saw a much different landscape compared to the desert of the Colorado Plateau.

The 125-mile, southbound trip between the two cities was virtually all downhill. The drop of more than a mile in altitude between Flagstaff (7,000 ft) and Phoenix (1,117 ft) made for some interesting maneuvering on curves and downgrades.

An interesting aspect of Interstate 17 is that it does not run between states. But I found it difficult to ponder the significance of this fact while reading signs such as "Runaway Truck Lane Ahead."

Thankfully, we arrived safely and spent the next day visiting with my (Chuck's) aunt Evelyn. We brought our laptop along so the she could read some of the entries on our blog. She was able to read about our travels while simultaneously carrying on two conversations with us. I found that pretty amazing.

Evelyn arranged a conference call with two of my other aunts (Margaret and Martha). We talked briefly about scheduling visits with them and the cousins in California later this summer. My three aunts are in good health and stay active with a daily schedule of people to see and places to go.

Evelyn prepared a light lunch for us and topped it off with a tasty and beautiful dessert of dried cranberries, Fuji apples, sugar-coated walnuts, and a ginger cookie crust with whipped cream and strawberries.

I could have spent hours watching hummingbirds drink at the containers on Evie's proch.

In the poem "Hummingbird," Laerynfra talks about the effects of watching a hummingbird for an extended period of time:

Beware the sultry
"seeps" of the
His persistance
will sway you
into dining on
Shrimp Plant and
Scarlet Runner Bean,
sipping Mimosa cocktails,
and enjoying Little Cigars;
but later you'll
find yourself dancing
at local hangouts,
for handouts
of sugar-spiked
water, wondering
how he ever got
your heart
to beat
so fast.

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