Arizona Sycamores in South Fork (Photo by Narca)
Now it's winter, and peacefulness lies as deep as the drifts of sycamore leaves.
I often hike up the South Fork road with friends, usually Peg or Rose Ann, but some days when the call of the canyon is especially strong, I go alone, quietly. That's when a Black Bear is more likely to amble across the dirt road, oblivious to a hiker. That's when I'm more likely to tune into the small flocks of confiding Yellow-eyed Juncos that forage unobtrusively at the road's edge.
Today sparkles, after last night's mix of rain and light snow. The luminous cliffs glow intensely orange against the skyblue. Flocks of ubiquitous Mexican Jays probe into crevices and under leaves. An Arizona Woodpecker taps softly in the oaks.
The cliffs of South Fork (Photo by Narca)
Today a troop of Coatis cavorts in the creek bed and noses through the drifts of fallen, rusty-gold leaves. Females and young gather in troops like this one. The males (like this big guy who visited our house last month) are solitary. In Costa Rica, people used to think that there were two species of Coatimundi––those that lived in groups, and those who were solitary, the "Lonely Coati."
A lone male Coati (Photo by Narca)
When our own quiet matches the forest's quiet, we find its life.