Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nature in the 'Burbs

I love nature, but I must admit that I am not the "roughing it" type. It's more enjoyable to me if I can appreciate nature up close, but with minimal personal discomfort. For example, you won't find me hiking down the Grand Canyon, when I can see the view perfectly well from the Rim. That's a little embarrassing to admit, and I know I will miss seeing some amazing things this way. But there are many things I can enjoy with this approach of staying within my comfort zone. Our life here at Talking Rock Ranch in Prescott, Arizona is evidence.

We live in the outer suburbs of Prescott, on land that was once cattle ranch. The developer has done a great job of retaining a natural feel, while using builders that work within strict design standards. Our homes and the common buildings have rustic-looking exteriors, compatible with the history of the area. A low-light policy allows us to see a full pallette of stars at night. The best thing about Talking Rock Ranch is how the community has been nestled into the land in a "natural" way.

The beautifully-groomed golf course has natural desert rough. It's common to see roadrunners, lizards, and rabbits. If you choose to pursue a wayward golf ball, you must be alert for snakes. In the evenings, residents have reported the occasional antelope bounding through the fairways.

From the comfort of our back yard, we have enjoyed watching desert flowers seemingly bloom before our eyes after a monsoon rainshower - much to the delight of bees and hummingbirds. Roadrunners are common, and we usually see them with a small lizard wiggling fruitlessly in a sharp beak. Hummingbirds in pairs strafe past us with a whirring of their little wings. Rabbits chase each other playfully, engrossed in mating games. Last night, we were surprised to see two coyotes on the 1st green, within 100 yards of our house.

Hiking trails in the community have provided other glimpses of nature. We haven't encountered any javelina yet, but have learned to identify their scat, which is full of nuts and berries. (This is probably not a tracking skill that will come in handy in Chicago.) Large granite outcroppings and chunks of quartz define parts of the trails. We have a lot of exploring left to do, still on Talking Rock Ranch property.

I promise to expand my territory soon. There's so much to see in the immediate area. Ron is itching to attack some local hiking trails. I want to try kayaking on Watson Lake. And Sedona is only a little over an hour away. For the moment, I am reveling in what these suburbs have to offer.

1 comment:

  1. What a contrast to the flora and fauna of our mountain getaway! Or to the suburban and urban areas of Memphis. It is all truly marvelous. I contend that there is nothing more beautiful, more interesting, more complex, or more nurturing than Nature!