Sunday morning, Mojave in Spring

Rabbits are mating and playing and mating outside my window as I watch. The winter's sparse rains have grown a bit of salad for them in the desert. Quail are breaking up their seasonal coveys, wandering the desert in mated pairs, eating the insects that have emerged to eat the seedlings. Before long, I expect, there will be a new crop of seedling quail, marauding mobs of minuscule dust bunnies where the non-metaphorical rabbits cavort right this second. And then perhaps gopher snakes fattened incrementally on the baby quail.

Also, the grass is shedding pollen in great gasps, and I swallow allergy meds like popcorn. Spring is here.

I walked yesterday along the Mojave River with a group of desert activists, and with a politician who may or may not live up to a verbal agreement he subsequently made to do something useful, and just as I was explaining to him about the importance of the desert's rare surface water to wildlife in the desert, then pivoting -- with all the rhetorical grace of a sledgehammer dropped out of a flaming helicopter -- to talking about the odious Cadiz project, a great blue heron launched itself from the tules in mid-river. The politician exclaimed in apparent delight. Then the heron's mate, likewise appearing from the tules, joined it in the air.

Great Blue Heron at Mojave Narrows, photo by Matt Curtis, some rights reserved



Great Blue Heron at Mojave Narrows, September 2009 photo by Matt Curtis, some rights reserved

Nice of the desert to agree to meet its cues like that. Those herons may have done more to help protect the desert than I do in a typical month.

We sued the Interior Department over Cadiz last week, a new experience for me. I have also taken more people to see Bonanza Spring, where the cottonwoods now leaf out and the tules grow verdant, and waterfowl circle in the middle of the stinking hot Mojave Desert seemingly wondering if that green pool beneath them at the lower spring is a mirage of some kind.

If their descendants can still find something to drink at Bonanza Spring fifty years from now, and if I can play even a small role in that outcome, this life will have been worth living.