This week, closing out 2016, Ben Huberman asks us to celebrate people, places and objects that endure. The specifics of Ben’s challenge post can be found here. Having just returned to Arizona from our Christmas holiday at our home in North Dakota, I realize that I could have chosen images from either location to demonstrate resilience. From a location that routinely finds itself in temperatures well below zero (F or C) in the winter to another location that routinely finds itself in temperatures well over 100 degrees F (over 37 degrees C); the plants and animals that endure through the seasons are truly resilient.
For well over three decades, my wife and I endured cold winters, so when we retired, we decided that we would spend our winters in a warmer climate. Of course, we are not resilient enough to have decided to spend our summers in that warmer climate, thank you very much. Of course with modern heating and air conditioning systems, either place is really quite tolerable for humans. Plants and animals, however, must endure.
Life is harsh in the Sonoran Desert with little water, very hot days in the summer and very cold nights in the winter. Yet plants like the Saguaro have adapted, indeed thrive in the climate. In fact, the Saguaro cactus, the tall, vertical tubes can live several centuries and don’t even start to grow their signature “arms” until they are into their seventh decade of life. Saguaro can only be found in one place on earth, the Sonoran Desert in Mexico and the Southern United States. More photos and information about the Saguaro can be found in an earlier post here. The saguaro in the image above are very young, well under 50 years old, I would guess. The small gallery of images below are from a recent visit to Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona. Click on an image below to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.