Lillies, sans water
Wednesday, April 27th, 2022 Alive 18,628 days
Nature finds a way.
Nature finds a way.
Itʼs not the ones you can see that you have to worry about. Itʼs the ones you canʼt see.
Not every creature of the night makes it back home before the commuters arrive. I came across this opossum cowering in a nook of One Shell Plaza.
The security guard says it happens a lot. He called someone to remove the critter, but that was hours ago, and no one has shown up. So the terrified thing cowers in the corner, intermittently shivering and hissing. Iʼd probably do the same thing, if I was him.
Ever meet someone who would not take “no” for an answer? Ever meet a bug like that?
This hairy fellow would not leave me alone. I could have squashed him easily enough, but the birds gotta eat, too. So I just kept moving him to other parts of the picnic table. And every time I did, heʼd come right back and try to read my book with me.
I like toads. I always have. But I donʼt know if Iʼm supposed to like this toad, or not.
Itʼs a California Toad, a subspecies of the Western Toad. The problem is that itʼs living on the edge of a very small spring that is the only home of the hyper-endangered Amargosa Dace, a type of pupfish.
The pupfish only live in this one little hole; nowhere else on earth. The toads live all over the West, from the Rockies to Alaska to Mexico.
In centuries past, settlers populated the isolated springs and oases of the Mojave Desert with frogs, in order to use them for food. Tiny, slimy, amphibious cattle. In doing so, they wiped out many populations of endangered fish.
Thatʼs why this toad may not belong here. He may be a descendant of hungry and industrious settlers of the 1800ʼs. Or he may have been here all along, since this is still California Toad territory.
Iʼd ask someone, but these are COVID times, so none of the nearby ranger stations are manned.
Hereʼs a very sad picture. At least in modern times.
In centuries past, this little hole in the ground was a life-saver. For pioneers, for local indian tribes, and for many others it provided vital water in the desert wilderness. Today, though, itʼs a reminder of things gone wrong.
This is Longstreet Spring, at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Itʼs a boiling spring, which isnʼt a reference to the temperature of the water, but to the way the water forces itself up through a layer of sand at the bottom, making it look like the bottom of the pond is boiling.
This used to be the home of a thriving population of endangered fish. The fish are gone now, eaten by frogs brought by the pioneers. Today, all that live here are frogs and the insects that feed them.
Have you never noticed that new wildlife refuges are almost always in places that most people don't want to be, anyway?
It's never “Oh, here's this prime piece of real estate with lots of natural resources. We should set this aside for the ducks!”
These days, it's always, “Look at this godforsaken, polluted, barren wasteland. Weʼll, let nature have it, so we can write it off on our taxes, and feel good about ourselves.”
Las Vegas locked down is a weird place. With no humans on The Strip, the city is being taken over by waterfowl.
Local media has been showing photos and video of geese and ducks all over the casinos. The theory is that they're attracted by the people-less fountains. Last week, I saw some video of a family of ducks that have made a home in one of the revolving doors of The Bellagio.
For four miles, I saw no tortoises. I feel ripped off.