A Walk in the Neighborhood, Arizona Style

What do I see and hear and smell on a walk near my house?

From the moment I step outside I smell flower fragrance. So I take a big sniff and keep walking. I hear songbirds singing.

Next I see the seedpods. Everywhere. Here are just a few.

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Then I see the pretty Mexican bird of paradise plant.  See how fiery and unique the blossoms are!

I come upon flowering saguaros.



The sounds I hear are silence, then a rush of cars, then this: babies in their nest–inside a saguaro.

Apparently some baby birds are very noisy when being fed.

On the writing front, I wrote a little essay this weekend. We’ll see what happens with it. Best part: #amwriting

Make it a good week if you can figure out a way!

Leaving you with a wild baby in my yard. This is a baby kingsnake.  They are not only harmless to humans, but they kill rattlesnakes. We have been nurturing a family of kingsnakes ever since we moved here. Isn’t he cute?!




Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Arizona, Essay, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, Nonfiction, Writing

61 responses to “A Walk in the Neighborhood, Arizona Style

  1. I’m not a snake fan but I know they are part of the balance of nature. I am surprised at how fast this snake can get around considering it has no legs! I found 2 garter snakes in my pond this year (first time in 9 years!). After totally freaking out, I captured one and rehomed it at our local creek. The other is still somewhere in the yard spying on me.

    • Yes, they are part of the balance of nature. And these guys are our protectors. This little guy was running for his life because my son and I were heading him off so that he would go to the yard and not the house. My son was telling him not to get too overworked or upset LOL. I love that image of the garter snake spying on you! Hahaha, there might be a reason to have him there. Maybe he does something good? That was so nice of you to rehome him. So many people want to kill a snake, any kind, the minute they see it. I will admit I am not a huge snake fan as a general rule. The adults creep me out, but I’ve learned to appreciate these kingsnakes.

  2. Um, snakes ick me out! Glad you are ok with them though.

  3. Gorgeous. That snake is so mesmerizing.

  4. That’s quite the walk you have, Love seed pods. I used to collect different varieties to make pine cone wreaths interspersed with pods. Maybe one day soon I’ll get back to it. I’m also not a snake fan after living in Georgia for several years but happy to hear there is something that kills rattle snakes. We have to learn to live with nature, not eradicate it. Thanks for taking us along.

    • Seed pods are wonderful, and we have so many! I don’t make anything with them so I don’t collect them, but they do kind of call out to be put in a poem! Oh, the snakes of the southeast are sneaky creatures. I’ve heard about all the lakes just filled with snakes. No thank you! I like my snakes on the “up and up” haha. Yes, we have to learn to with nature if we want to have a beautiful world!

  5. Great post, Luanne. I didn’t know that about king snakes. Anything that kills a rattlesnake is good by me.

  6. Great walk, Luanne. I liked that kingsnake. The flowering saguaros are beautiful.

    • The saguaros are so beautiful. I hope this means there will be red fruit again this year! I just found a post by somebody else from a year ago where they discovered a saguaro that had at least four nests in it!!!!!!!
      That little kingsnake is such a cutie, trying so hard to get away from us!

  7. Your cactus plants and snakes are so exotic to me. I think that little fellow is just beautiful – look at the way he moves and how his stripes catch the light. I think I’d be more afraid of getting barbed by a cactus than looked at by a snake of that kind. Thanks for the peek into your desert surroundings Luanne 🙂 <3

  8. I <3 snakes, and that little king snake is beautiful! Thanks for the video – without it, we couldn't appreciate how his stripes make him truly mesmerizing when he moves, as V.J. said. I love the way he puts his head down and goes for a bit, then raises it and takes off again, like, "Ohmigosh, that person is still following me!" 😉

  9. We need to respect certain types of snakes since they protect us from the dangerous ones.

  10. Amy

    So beautiful (not the snake) and SO different from a walk in our neighborhood in New England!

  11. I’ve never been to Arizona–thank you for showing me the sights!
    It’s so different from S. Jersey, too. I never thought about birds having nests in those giant cactuses.

  12. Love your posts, Luanne! Your environment is so exotic to me! Love that bird of paradise plant! Re “Apparently some baby birds are very noisy when being fed.” – maybe they’re very noisy when WANTING to be fed. 😀
    Re writing – I submitted a short flash fiction piece to a contest – the Masters Review, do you know it? Aaaand the waiting game begins, eh? Meanwhile, my novel-in-utero. Okay, am on page 4, still not quite sure where it’s going, though! Argh! Keeps me off the streets, anyhoo! ttyl!

    • Hah, you probably thought I’d never respond to this comment! But never fear, I’ve been meandering back here to do so! I thought that about the baby birds, and you are probably right, but then I read that owl babies are noisy when they are being fed, so I am not sure! The Masters Review sound familiar, but I am not sure. Fingers crossed and good luck and all that! So I guess you’re a “pantser” novel writer, huh? No outline?

      • Hey I knew you’d be back… someday! 😁 Thanks for crosses fingers!
        Re “pantser” – i don’t know what the heck I am, other than a Great Procrastinator! I have good characters in search of a decent plot. I started out with a plot in mind, then lost confidence (that I could do it justice) – and also wasn’t sure how I wanted it to end up! All these doubts precluded construction of a proper outline, see? So all this explains why I’m still stuck on page 4. Also I thought maybe I’d turn it into a sort of sci-fi thriller, but… anyway, I’m taking a “pause.” 😂

  13. That dry southwest climate produces stunning cactus and its flowering. It inspires. Thanks for the short tour.

  14. Loved the snake video. I have never seen a king snake. It had a bit of a sidewinder move there for a while. I miss seeing the saguaro blooms. Hopefully some of our smaller cacti will flower this year.

    • I hope we get saguaro fruit this year, too. Fingers crossed for your cacti. I have never noticed that sideways movement in the adults btw.

  15. The king snake is mesmerising! And you have some unusual nesting sites 🙂

  16. Ooh I love the Mexican Bird of paradise plant! So pretty and vibrant! And of course I do love those baby bird sounds and the snake. Best wishes on placing that essay.

  17. I really enjoyed this walk around your Arizona neighborhood. Thank you for taking us along!

  18. Thanks for taking us along on your walk, Luanne! Yikes! I am having to get used to some new critters out here in the desert too. On one of our trails, someone took a photo of a bobcat carrying off his prey, a rabbit. :/ I don’t ever think I will get used to the food chain thing! Snakes = no.

    • Oh, that’s sad for the bunny, but happy for the bobcat. I forgot that you are out in desert now. I didn’t forget you moved, just didn’t put two and two together.

      • I’m still adjusting, Luanne! It is nice to have two mountains, one to the north and one to the southeast, as we love the view. Mt. San Gorgonio is always beautiful, and Mt. San Jacinto too. The snow is disappearing on the very tops, but it was a beautiful scene most of the winter.

  19. The king snake is beautiful. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos!

  20. My parents grew up in Arizona. My mother was born in Tucson and met my Dad at Glendale High School. Much of my family is a product of Arizona, from Kingman to Nogales.

    My cousin (my mother’s age) lived in the foothills of the Catalinas. More than the snakes I vividly remember the scorpions. Back then you took a pot from the cupboard, dumped the scorpions in the trash, and boiled the water for oatmeal while the kids checked their shoes for creatures that might have crawled into the moist warmth during the night.

    I particularly loved to walk out into the desert, far from any civilization and just enjoy the wind and the heat. Back then (the fifties) you could still pick up large pieces of lavender glass in the sun or find horned toads hiding against the sand.

    I grew up mostly in San Diego and sitting on a sandstone cliff watching the surf pound against the rocks was my local equivalent to those quiet solo walks in the desert.

    Having visited to an almost unrecognizable San Diego, I assume that Tucson (and Phoenix) have traded the open silence of the desert for large expanses of ticky-tacky condos and the scourge of noisy traffic.

    I guess life goes on.

    • Mike, I just found your comment here. YES, Phoenix is huge now. Just huge. But Arizona still has much desert land left, you just have to drive out farther to get to it. Your anecdote about the scorpions is HILARIOUS. I can just see it. When we first moved to California, it was in a newly developed area just swarming with black widows. I couldn’t even pull something out of my closet without checking it for spiders. That first summer there were thousands in and especially around our house.

  21. Beautiful photos of our gorgeous Arizona! Keep them coming.

  22. Pingback: A Walk in the Neighborhood, Arizona Style — Luanne Castle’s Writer Site – Loving Az Homes

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