My front yard has been an aviary wonderland the past several weeks: hummingbirds building nests; hooded and bullock’s orioles playing hide ’n seek in the paloverdes, their plumage the perfect camouflage against pale yellow blooms; and fuzzy Say’s Phoebe chicks taking flight on wobbly wings.
So, you can imagine my surprise when a bird of a different sort landed in my front yard, right next to two saguaros. The bird’s shadow can be seen (below) among the green of cottonwoods and ash, next to the Gila River.
“Your ride is here,” hubby announced with a grin, amid the thwack thwack of chopper blades that sent billowing dust clouds into the sky. “Happy birthday.”
Of course, this wasn’t just any birthday; this was a big surprise for a big milestone-kind-of-birthday. Let’s just say that I’ve now been around for four decades. Ahem.
The first few minutes of the ride, my heart was in my throat. You see, this bird had no doors, so only a seatbelt stood between me and the cracked desert soil some 500 to 1,000 feet below. When I finally re-learned how to breathe and was comfortable removing my hand from the oh-shit grip (hubby’s affectionate name for the strap above the door), I started to snap photos. Yeah… and I never stopped – until 181 images later.
Please join me for the flight of a lifetime over this rugged Arizona desert I love so passionately – past nearby canyons and rivers – and as seen through the breathtaking lens of a bird’s eyes:
The above photo gives you a sense of just how far out into the mountains I had driven for my writing solace. The fourth bump in the road is actually where I stopped and wrote this post about my “Office Space.”
Next stop, Aravaipa Canyon: How different things look from the sky! This is the same canyon I hiked with friends back in 2010. Those tiny specks of green below are actually giant cottonwood trees, some 50 feet tall.
Hubby and I visited the small mining town (above) last summer to photograph the area’s historic buildings. See the close-up views in my post.
For readers, writers: I knew hubby was preparing some kind of surprise for me the week leading up to my birthday. Though I specifically told him “No party, under any circumstances,” I was sure he had planned a big bash (due to his cryptic behavior and cloudy, contradictory responses throughout the week).
So I spent a few days cleaning the house from top to bottom – just in case. I had myself in a tizzy worrying, wondering, being mad that he hadn’t honored my wishes of a calm fortieth.
The fascinating thing is that I was so obsessed about the surprise that something interesting happened with my fiction writing. Scenes came easily, and in a rush (during a time I thought I was totally distracted). Is it possible that, because I took the pressure off the WRITING and was focused on something else, it helped with creativity?
Would you have chosen the birthday bash or the chopper ride? Do you like surprises when you read? Do you get a tingle when a character surprises you with his or her actions?
END NOTE: This was THE best surprise hubby ever could have given me and was an illustration of how much this man knows and loves me: he orchestrated the ultimate nature ride, offering me a view of the local area – a perspective of the desert – I’ve never experienced. I got to be one of the birds I’ve been admiring so much from my perch on the ground.