Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ocotillo, Big Bend National Park, Texas Feb 1995

Deep in far west Texas is a good place to be this time of year. Cool mornings and warm afternoons, absolutely no humidity, it doesn't get better than that. And while most people think of the desert as being only sand dunes, it's actually a vast eco sytem of plants that can survive in the most harsh conditions. The ocotillo is one such plant that is found through out the lower and dryer elevations of the Big Bend country. Long arms of thorns are what one normally sees, but with a little rain, those long woody branches will burst forth with small green leaves from stem to end. And it's great crowning achievement will be a small pod of brilliant red flowers on the tip of each stalk. All this growth can happen within a two week period, and the plant returns again to its spider like appearance until the next cycle. I must admit that I don't know what those highlighted tuffs of "grass" are, but they made for a grand base for the ocotillo just after first light that early morning during that last week of February 1995.

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