The Doctor is IN

Keen Observations on Life … Whether You Need Them or Not

A Southerner’s View on Desert Flowers


It’s a given fact that gardening is in my blood. It seems to have skipped a generation, mainlining straight to me through my granddaddy, who everyone knew as “Teddy.” He was a farmer, and even when he had to move to the city (Norfolk, VA) from the family homestead (near Grifton, NC) because the farm wouldn’t support his brothers and their families, he maintained a small patch of garden in the backyard. My mother, on the other hand, hated the farm and gardening. Word is that when she was two or three, they’d stand her at the end of a long row and she’d stand there and cry until somebody came to get her.

I think she’s crazy, but then again, I love gardening. I love to be outside in the sun, with my hands in the soil, connecting with nature and appreciating what the good Lord gave us. Our garden is too shady for vegetables, so we focus on an abundance of flora to our heart’s delight.

Who knew the Arizona desert landscape would offer as many delightful flowers as we came across, a fact I now know firsthand after our family vacation last week. Life, it seems, finds a way. I hope you’ll enjoy the slideshow of desert flora, collected from our five days of difficult to medium hikes.

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Our travels took us to Sedona, which we used as a hub for small day hikes and trips. We ventured to the Grand Canyon; hiked for miles through the difficult trails of Broken Arrow Canyon; entered nirvana in Boynton Canyon–where there were a handful of different ecosystems depending on which way you turned appreciated the red rocks at Red Rock State Park; and tickled our toes in the West Fork trail at Oak Creek Canyon. We experienced Chimney Rock, Sugar Loaf, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, Snoopy Rock, Cathedral Rock, Capitol Butte, Coffee Pot Rock … first hand, up close, and smeared our hands in the iron ore-rich soil that makes the mountains in Sedona red. We visited the Tuzigoot National Monument, possibly one of the oldest ruins sites in the United States. We visited three vortex sites, chatted a nonstop blue streak with our fourteen year old son, breathed the clean mountain air (that does wonders for asthma), and realized that the world is so much larger than the three of us.

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country – to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.

I was delighted to learn of the wisdom of the Santa Fe railroad people in deciding not to build their hotel on the brink of the canyon. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel, or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon.

Leave it as it is. You can not improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American if he can travel at all should see.

We have gotten past the stage, my fellow-citizens, when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as something to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation, whether it is the forest, the water, the scenery. Whatever it is, handle it so that your children’s children will get the benefit of it.”

– President Roosevelt made this speech at the
Grand Canyon, Arizona, on May 6, 1903.

Author: Dolly R. Sickles

Writer, mother, wife, adventurer, agent of change, advocate, ally, volunteer, instructor, and lover of chocolate. I write romance as Becky Moore, and children’s literature as Dolly Dozier. I'm a contributor with USA Today's Happy Ever After, a book reviewer for BookPage, and I'm also an adjunct instructor in the Creative Writing Programs at Central Carolina Community College, and Wake Technical Community College. And when I'm not writing or dreaming about writing, I'm out adventuring with my family.

9 thoughts on “A Southerner’s View on Desert Flowers

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