In case it rains I set out the buckets to catch the precious water.
I take cuttings from the massive euphorbias of Morocco. They resemble giant olive-green sea anemones. Models of thrift and adaptation to mirror. By 2050 we’ll need to possess the genes of a saguaro.
I collect seeds from the brittle bushes that in spring yielded daisy-like flowers.
Gethsemane is in every garden. Suffering and reassignment. I remove a shed and expose three tarantula burrows. Three furious tarantulas emerge, 24 eyes see each other and a three-way duel-to-the-death unfolds.
On the side of a barrel cactus I find a bird’s skeleton, wings outstretched, a crucified cactus wren, ensnared, a totem, a reminder to be careful when approaching a desert fruit.
A deer skull hangs over our hacienda’s back door, emblematic of the cycle that rules out here. Fixing the fence, I watch ants disintegrate a deceased kangaroo rat. We’re all just jackrabbits waiting to be pancaked into the asphalt. Vulture vittles.
Fence fixed, I look up to see red-faced vultures floating in the blue, patiently waiting for death to serve up their Daily Bread.
Over the kitchen window hangs this cartoonist’s favorite cartoon prop, an old scythe, an ode to the Grim Reaper. And to my uncle’s farm, where boyhood summers taught me to love turning earth. Beneath shade sails and shade trees, water conserved, the seasons and I have turned this earth, where drought-resistant life thrives, producing the weird beauty desert dwellers savor.