In February of 2010, I made a brief trip back to Santa Fe and Albuquerque to participate in a fundraiser for my good friend, colleague and composer/bassist/mbira player Zimbabwe Nkenya, who had suffered a stroke.
It's cold here in Tempe in February. You know, like in the 50s during the day and 40s overnight. This trip up across the vast tundra of Northern Arizona and over to New Mexico was like a visit to the Arctic. I think it was actually below freezing the entire time. Such is my love for Zim and my undying sense of adventure.
An entire petrified tree stretched out in huge broken pieces, with Interstate 40 in the background.
Cylindropuntia whipplei looking like ice in the Navajoan Desert outside Holbrook.
Opuntia polyacantha with shards of petrified wood.
Otherworldly volcanic colors.
Echinocereus triglochidiatus hunkered down in winter condition.
Winter in Santa Fe. The fog was freezing. It was about 5 degrees below zero overnight. Cylindropuntia imbricata with yellow fruit and Opuntia phaeacantha.
A few scenes of the set up for Zimbabwe's benefit.
This shed was in the alley behind The Outpost Performance Space where the benefit was:
On the way back, I stopped briefly in Socorro NM and found Grusonia clavata and some nice Opuntia macrocentra and phaeacantha. Also stopped just after the Salt River Canyon outside Globe AZ and looked at some beautiful Agave parryi and Echinocereus bonkerae.
I have definitely gotten soft, and have basically not experienced a winter in 4 years. I like these weekend visits as reminders. When I arrived back in Tempe, it was sunny and in the upper 50s. And I saw a woman wearing a hat and scarf.