Jun 28 2010

Saguaro Flower Power

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I admit it. I’m in love with the saguaro cactus – from its stately arms, behemoth size and prickly spines to its exquisite white flowers. And did you know that the saguaro is only found in Arizona’s Sonoran desert … nowhere else in the world? How great is that?

This curved-bill thrasher enjoys picking ants (pollinators of the flowers) and bugs from the newly opened saguaro flowers.

There’s something magical about late spring when the saguaros bloom. As they begin to bud, flowers crop up on the very tops, looking like unruly dreadlocks (The saguaro wears the hairstyle well. I love it).

When the flowers finally open, from a distance they look somewhat mechanical, with crisp edges, perfectly formed spheres and a ramrod-straight tube poking out of each. They kind of remind me of Claymation (those of you not old enough to know what that is, think of Mr. Bill. Or even the California raisins.). So, yes, they kind of look like perfectly formed clay, soft and pliable.

Nature’s ability to engineer something so flawless and streamlined, so delicate and so functional is quite breathtaking.

For Writers: What inspires you to write? Obviously nature ignites my creativity, even though the fiction I write is character-focused and dramatic – not focused solely on nature. There’s just something about sitting among trees, open fields, skies – letting the natural world happen around you as you observe. Even taking in the sights and sounds in a park for 10 minutes can inspire. You should try it if you haven’t already.

Jun 25 2010

Friday Photo: Kryptonite

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I’m not well versed in Superman trivia, but when I saw this lichen on a rock during a recent hike, I immediately thought: Kryptonite! It was almost glowing from the rock’s surface; I assume it is “young” lichen, as other nearby rocks sported the less spectacular sea foam-colored lichen. Isn’t nature cool?

Lichen – a.k.a. “Kryptonite” photo taken at Saddle Knoll in Pinal County, Arizona.

Consider this, writers: Kryptonite is the one true weakness of Superman, an otherwise unassailable hero. What are the weaknesses of your novel’s “super” heroes? Remember: they have to have fatal flaws/weaknesses to be believable.