Saguaro Nights

Saguaro Nights

The Sonoran Desert is, despite being a desert, a surprising noisy place. You might expect it to be dead silent and quiet, for surely, no one lives here, and since no one lives here, it must be quiet. In truth, the desert is a very active place, both visually and audibly. True, it is not like you can’t hear yourself think for the noise, and yes, you have to be still and listen, yet, the desert is active and lets you know it. During the night, however, it is a completely different story.

As the sun goes down, there is a brief flurry of activity as the desert begins to cool off from what can be scorching heat. Yet, eventually, the desert begins to quiet down for the evening. The lower the sun sinks, the more the feeling of stillness pervades the air. Of course, the desert is still quite active, it just quiets down.

What better representation of this phenomenon than the ever classic saguaro, silhouetted against the deep reds and blues of the sunset? This particular photograph was made in Saguaro National Park, the east district, in Arizona on a cool spring evening. As the sun began its final journey into darkness, I was rewarded by the last grasp at color, red this evening, just before it slipped away. The saguaro stood tall into the oncoming night. Tomorrow, of course, the cycle would repeat, but for now I was simply content to enjoy the stillness and silence of the moment.

Saguaro National Park has two distinct districts, and as expected, each has a different feel to it. The west district, or the Tucson Mountain District, can be characterized by numerous, yet smaller, saguaros. In some places, it seems like you cannot walk through the desert at all due to the high concentration of the saguaros.┬áThe east district, or the┬áRincon Mountain District, can be characterized as fewer saguaros, yet the ones that are here are substantially taller than their cousins to the west. There is no “best” district, and we are fortunate that both are preserved. Night at either district is an amazing time.

Step into the night

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