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Trip shot: Kayak Duck

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I took a quick paddle around a local lake for exercise this morning and stopped out at a small island. This little guy came to visit.

Photo: Pigeon with Dramatic Lighting

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Pigeon with dramatic lighting. (c)2017 J.S.Reinitz

Trip Shot: The Jar

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Apache Junction Scorpion Preserve. (c)2017 J.S.Reinitz

 When my mother asked me to bring her the mason jar from the desk of her Arizona home, I knew what lurked inside.

We were in Arizona. It was her grandchildren’s first visit to the state.

It had to be a scorpion.

I passed the jar to my son — age 14 — and daughter — 10 — and my mother recounted how days earlier she noticed the cat toying with some small critter outside her home. She separated the two and noticed the scorpion didn’t have a head, she told us, so she assumed it was dead. She covered the vermin with a plastic yogurt cup and, aware the stinger may still be active after death, used a piece of cardboard to scoop it into the jar and screwed on the lid.

My son tilted the jar, studying the creature inside.

“Oma, his pincer just moved. I don’t think it’s dead,” he said.

Curious about the possibility the movement could have been some post- mortem nerve reflex– as seen in detached spider legs — he tipped the jar again, holding it up to the light. There was more movement, legs, the stinger. I doubted the involuntary twitching could continue days after its demise.

“You know,” I added, “I don’t think scorpions have a separate head. I think it’s just part of their thorax.”

 

(c)2017 J.S.Reinitz

 Having concluded that the creature in the jar was still alive, and probably very hungry by this point, the conversation turned to his fate. My son was all for finishing the cat’s work and killing the vermon. My wife felt the same.

But my daughter, the fourth-grade vegetarian, took the live-and-let-live stance.

Grandma started off on the harsher side of the capital punishment issue but acquiesced to my daughter’s leniency argument. However, she didn’t to want to return the poisonous critter to the yard where it could reek havoc with her cats let the neighbors. She didn’t want to release it near anyplace inhabited, and I doubted the local animal control authorities ran an impound for displaced scorpions — all waiting to be adopted to a good home.

So, I volunteered to return the critter to the wild. I drove past the edge of town, where the roads and street lights give way to scrub and cacti and mountains. There I found a place that made a great de-facto scorpion preserve.

I walked a ways down a trail, opened the jar and flung the scorpion at a bush.

Fly free, little critter.

Free to frolic with all the other poisonous creatures of the desert.

Trip shot: Arizona Sunset

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(c)2017 J.S.Reinitz

 Sunset from Apache Junction, Arizona.

Photo: Window visitor

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(c) 2017 J.S.Reinitz


This feathered visitor knocked into the ground floor window at my day job (yeah, I need one of those to pay the bills).
Our office is next to a river, so we get all the excitement — bald eagles fishing in the winter, seasonal flooding, abandoned bull mastiffs trading water, dive teams looking for submerged cringe guns, and the occasional jumper (who ultimately lands in waist-deep water and knee-deep mud).
The hawk above saw something interesting on our features editor’s desk and thumped into the glass. After standing around dazed, he flew off.

Photo: Downtown sunrise

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Downtown Sunrise.

 
It’s finally that time of the season when the sun is starting to come as I leave my morning exercise class. No filters, just metered off the clouds.

Photo: Winter driving

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Sliding through the holidays, taking care of a few last-minute errands.

Photo: City snowfall

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Snowfall in the city. (c)2016 J.S.Reinitz

Happy Thanksgiving

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I spot some of the most beautiful things between assignments, which can involve some of the worst mankind can inflict upon itself. In this case, I passed a wild turkey crossing the train tracks as I traveled between two parts of the same assignment. Moments before, a gunman had opened fire on a passing car in one part of town, and the driver crossed the tracks as he fled to another part of town where he stopped at a friend’s house and met paramedics, who treated a gunshot wound to his leg. The guy lived, so he has a little bit to be thankful for.

Photo: Gourds

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Gourds for sale.

Photos: Flood remains

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Road water.

 
The flooding in the inhabited areas around here has subsided, but there are still parts that are underwater.

I eased my car up to the park entrance and tried to comprehend its status. The portable street department barricade seemed to indicate it was closed. But then again, it was half toppled, two of it’s metal legs sprawled on the asphalt, and some of the wood was splintered. 

So I took the chance and followed the road up and over the earthen flood-control berm and descended into the riverside park. At the shelter, I spotted three parked vehicles and few people milling around. It was the weekend, so I was pretty sure they weren’t city workers. If I was entering a restricted area, at least I wasn’t going to be the only one getting in trouble. 

Beyond the shelter, the backwater lake was overflowing, and water covered sections of the walking path.

On down the road I drove until the water began to lap at the pavement, and I pulled over to explore on foot. I didn’t get too far before my shoes found mud. Not your typical soaked earth, this was flood river mud. It had a fine, smooth consistency, smelled like rotting fish and clung to everything it touched. 

Perhaps the barricades weren’t to keep us from danger but were to save us from the muck and the stench.

trail water.

Photo: Cicada shells

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  We found these crunchy cicada shells while walking in a city park a few weeks ago.  They were lined up on the underside of a tree limb.
 

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