Candace Hughes’ photographs continue in Apache Junction City Hall and Library art show.
New target restrictions on Tonto Forest January 25, 2018
Effective Nov. 20, 2017, exploding targets are prohibited on the Tonto National Forest along with refuse for the purpose of target shooting. Biodegradable clay targets such as clay pigeons are allowed along with self-healing targets removed after shooting. It is expensive to clean up targets, shells and refuse, unsightly for hikers and horseback riders, and damaging for wildlife. No shooting is allowed within 1/2 mile of roads and occupied structures.
Morning pages get me started January 18, 2018
I use The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and in particular her Creativity Cards to begin each day’s session of writing. “Finding it hard to begin a project does not mean you will not be able to do it. It means you will need help–from your higher power, from supportive friends, and from yourself.” This card is particularly appealing as I look at all the ways I receive assistance with my writing life. Another daily habit is studying a page from The Elements of Style. “Omit needless words in my favorite entry.”
Help from friends guides writer January 17, 2018
I have a number of people assisting me in my writing life. They include my Mom, who unearthed this index card from a high school or college class. In addition, the encouragement of meaning and mission comes from We Were Eight Years in Power along with the reminder to write on my blog. Adam J. Kurtz’s Things are What You Make of Them brings me daily ideas to keep my production going. I often read and reread the essay from The New Yorker “What Mary Oliver’s Critics Don’t Understand.” As the article states, Oliver provides a blueprint for how to go about observing the natural world and producing art. The Story Cure by Dinty W. Moore of Ohio University provides story starters that prompt me to find fresh ideas. Start Where You Are A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel tells me to go outside and write down what I see. “Forget the Career Ladder: Start Creating Assets” by Mark McGuinness helps me as I continue to change from journalism to creative nonfiction, poetry and essays. These and other writings are starting my day today.
The case for riparian protection and Pinal County Arizona November 1, 2016
The Gila River near Riverside in eastern Pinal county, Arizona, has water during part of the year depending on rainfall and releases from a dam. It flows along the Arizona Trail and is a wildlife corridor. Animals and birds in the area may include the western screech owl, great horned owl, ringtail, and a variety of birds, snakes, and deer. This is part of the Sonoran desert where rainfall is scarce and water has been a particular problem during 20 years of drought in the western United States and Canada. If Pinal county approves Riparian protection we hope there will be no dumping of treated effluent in washes and no building in or alteration of washes which carry water during infrequent but sometimes violent storms.
The iconic saguaro often graces the sides of washes along with less rare sightings of cottonwoods and other native trees and plants providing habitat for birds and other wildlife. Washes, or arroyos, provide protection from runoff damaging adjacent structures and human activity. While riverbeds such as the Gila often are dry, they once were free-flowing corridors providing food and shelter for Native Americans. Turkeys and other sources of food were available to people inhabiting the area before overhunting and habitat destruction decimated the game bird.
Offroading in and near washes destroys the stream banks and homes of wildlife such as tortoises, foxes, coyotes and burrowing owls.
A report by a county consultant is awaiting distribution and reportedly will detail the effects of a possible ordinance governing riparian protection.
Here are my title suggestions for my National Novel Writing Month project:
Stop and Smell the Cactus Flowers
Finding Myself in Nature
Natural Pain Relief: Essays on Living in and With the Desert
Meditations on a Thorny Landscape
Get Close But Don’t Touch: Essays on the Sonoran Desert
Listen and Look, but Don’t Touch: Writing in the Desert
Finding Hope in the Southwestern United States
Saguaro removed October 23, 2016
Quail chatter in an adjacent lot wondering where their eggs in hollowed-out dirt bowls are now resting. Confused deer dash through the area as they are losing their shelter. A bulldozer pants in the background after clearing a 1-acre lot and making a pad for houses. The For Sale sign at 16th Avenue and Sixshooter Road beckons.
In Pinal County, Az., there is no protection for riparian areas or washes and landowners can remove cactus after following specific regulations. If the landowner wishes to move or sell a saguaro, the owner must apply for a permit through the Arizona Department of Agriculture. There are no restrictions forbidding the owner to knock the plant down.
However, the Pinal County Partnership’s Open Space Task Force has made a presentation to the county manager about a proposal protecting land.
A model showing the locations of riparian areas in the county in south-central Arizona is being contracted out for reviewing ordinances and studying the potential effect on landowners, said Kent Taylor, the county’s open-space manager.
The proposal won’t come before the board while the county is still in a fact finding mode, he added.