Aug 11 2010

The Palo Verde’s Plight

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Logic would tell most of us that, after months of the summer’s scorching 100-plus-degree desert heat, few things could grow, let alone thrive. I mean, we have reached the 110’s multiple times (and the temperature on the desert floor can skyrocket to 130 degrees or higher).

This persistent palo verde sprout literally moves the earth to make its way to the light. In their infancy, these trees-in-the-making resemble bean sprouts (no surprise, since the tree is a cousin among the legume family). Click to enlarge.

I’ve been so thrilled the past two weeks to see this new life pushing upward, bursting through the once rock-hard soil against all odds. The palo verde sprouts I’m seeing are so abundant, in fact, that they’re difficult not to trample during hikes and jogs. (I probably look like I’m hopping through a minefield in my own quest not to crush them)!

I often think, if they all survived, how green and lush the desert landscape would be. But I know from glancing around at the desert floor that only a handful will reach maturity. Even knowing that sad reality, it truly is amazing to see the miraculous rebirth of the desert after the monsoon rains.

For Writers: I can’t help but draw a parallel between these little sprouts and my quest for publication (and the quest of countless others). The palo verde is emerging in much the same way that I’m pushing and fighting my way through the novel-publishing process, trying to make my way to the top of the agent query pile, emerging as the full-time, published novelist I strive to be. Fingers crossed that I am one of the “palo verdes” who makes it!

4 Responses to “The Palo Verde’s Plight”

  • mary m Says:

    Enjoyed your latest blogs, especially the palo verde (I am feeling that way about struggling to make my way to Tucson) and the harris hawks. I have an “ex” who worked on a harris hawk study one summer. He said they live in groups and are very cooperative –even babysitting. It would be lovely to have a gang in the neighborhood! Keep your eyes out–I saw a couple this spring too.


  • Melissa Says:

    Mary – Glad you enjoyed. Re: Tucson – you’ll get there, but I can appreciate the feeling of struggle! Glad you enjoyed the Harris hawks as well. I learned at the Desert-Sonoran Museum that red-tail hawks are predators of Harris hawks, which may account for why we’ve seen so few Harris’s our way … I hope everyone can get along, because the Harris’s have been hanging out A LOT. Have seen them four days in a row. Fun stuff!


  • Mark McGrath Says:

    Gardez la foi, Melissa, and you too can become a palo verde!


    Melissa Reply:

    Thank you, Mark. I hope you’re right.


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