Fred Alvis


Rolling across the desert the other day, looking at the life that lives there; one cactus, arms spread to the heavens, was dead. She seemed to have given her all to the birthing of many children, as time passed. She now, in her last selfless act, was giving herself back to the desert.

Other cactus, were intertwined, looking like new lovers, out on the desert floor. Roadrunners, darting off the road, at the sound of my truck, latter returning, looking for that tasty diner, lying on the desert floor.

Fling desert life, such as it was, was splattered across my windshield. Snakes sunning themselves on the blacktop, havalienes (wild pigs) munching away, unconcerned with the passing traffic, and rooting away for another goodie only they appreciate. Other cactus, holes in their bodies from being pecked for homes, sheltering untold generations of new winged life.

No people, no homes nor fences, just land, unfolding, guarded by towering blue or purple mountains, stretching off into the hazy horizon. No grass, no trees, no shade, no water. A wild but deadly quiet, life spread thinly thru the sage thickets, finding sparse shade in the heat of the day.

Rolling along, 70 foot long, 80 thousand pounds, just a tiny speck in the landscape, swirling up dust, a bit of shade passing through at 60 miles an hour – it’s a lonely landscape, a hard one.

I passed by Cochise’s stronghold, a towering mountain, mostly rock and dry, dry earth. How a man, a people, a nation, survived in this place says a lot for courage, strength, determination. My hat is off to those early peoples, strong willed as they surely must have been.