Signs of a Desert Summer, and Time WE Sacrificed

A saguaro fruit, once it has been harvested of seeds by the desert critters, folds back into a lotus shape.

There is nothing subtle about summer in the Sonoran Desert. The temperature climbs inexorably to three digits, the air dries to five percent, and the sensation of being slowly roasted in a very hot ovens dominates the senses. Of course we ride our bicycles anyway. It’s a bit more like being in a convection oven; you roast evenly. However the sun has failed to roast these two pieces of meat, because we ingest huge quantities of fluids, soak our clothes regularly and ride fast. Evaporative cooling works. Besides we were hotter in Turkey, and knowing you won’t die if you drink makes a big difference.

Tucson’s newest bicycle bridge, the basket bridge, inspired by patterns found on Tohono O’odham baskets.

We are getting somewhat radical on the use of our car. We are down to less than on (small) tank of gasoline a month. We are not being holier than thou, after all, we did drive our motorhome thousands miles in the last 12 months; at least it was for work.

We did decide that at least we could do one small thing. We can set an example by driving our little Geo Tracker, as little as possible. When people see us out on the streets, bike panniers filled to overflowing with groceries, with the temperature hovering between 104 and 109, they know we are saving fuel, and maybe they’ll consider making one less trip each week, somehow.

The small things are all we can do. If each of us cut our fuel consumption in half (what we have done since March), a bunch of speculators would get soaked, policy makers and auto manufacturers would put their “future” projects on the fast track, and we could all stop whining. But, change is not something that comes easy to most folks. We’ve had more than one dirty look and a middle finger or two from big honker truck drivers, usually male, who have been told by the Neo Cons, that saving fuel is Un-American. Better we should invade another Arab country, since Iraq worked so well at keeping down the price of oil.

Lots of people think riding a bicycle is beyond them, but they would be wrong. Yes, it takes a little effort, a little learning, but since when have Americans shrunk from doing what needs to be done? Since 9/11 when the powers-that-be, told us we were victims and the only answer was to shop, and send our troops to sacrifice themselves in war. Maybe it’s time WE made some sacrifices.

Oh, all this biking is not all sacrifice: we each have lost more than 10 pounds. Hmmmmm


Signs of a Desert Summer, and Time WE Sacrificed — 2 Comments

  1. I live in Arizona. The picture of the Saguaro cactus on your page is, indeed, a very good one in my humble opinion. But, you did ruin it by photo-shopping the red flower onto it. Saguaro blossoms, the state flower of Arizona, are white.

  2. Gordon. I didn’t Photoshop anything. The red flower you think you see (I’ve made the same mistake) is a saguaro fruit after it has opened, a month or more after the white flower has died away. They really do look like red flowers from a little distance, but are bursting with sweet fruit, the best I’ve ever eaten.

    Bob Rogers

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