This year, 2021, has been filled with blessings, and lots of ups and downs.
While residing in Palm Creek in Casa Grande, Arizona, we traveled to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the US/Mexico border in southern Arizona, in early January. We also ascended Mount Lemmon near Tucson, by auto. Of course photos were made frequently, and we both played lots of pickleball and golf.
In February, Madera Canyon was visited in hopes of seeing the Elegant Trogon, but no such luck. Near the middle of the month, Kay and I got our first COVID vaccination. A trip to Yuma, with lunch in Mexico, was made, mainly in search of Costa’s Hummingbirds. We were rewarded for the long drive with photographs of several nectaring on blooming shrubs. I “blew out” my left knee playing pickleball, making for a lot of down time from both pickleball and golf. A number of trips were made to the Phoenix area to visit the Phoenix Botanical Garden and the Riparian Preserve at Gilbert, AZ—one of my favorite places to take photographs.
Back to Madera Canyon in early March, again “chasing” the Elegant Trogon, we observed and photographed our first Broad-billed Hummingbird up close and personal; the Trogon escaped us again. To say our winter at Palm Creek was subdued because of COVID would be an understatement as we rigorously followed recommended protocols. We returned home immediately after getting our second COVID vaccinations in mid-March, hoping for some normalcy, but no such luck. Time with grandkids was disciplined and sparse. Kay returned to the golf course and all of her social activities, but my blown-out knee still needed time to heal, thus no pickleball or golf. Instead, a number of trips were made to local hot spots for photos of wildflowers and emerging butterflies.
March turned into April, and wildflowers availed themselves to the camera, but the number of butterflies and dragonflies was way down compared to a normal year, and few opportunities to photograph them arose. Kay kept busy with golf, PEO, and church activities, and I gradually began playing golf and pickleball, and managed a cycling trip on the Delta Heritage Trail. We still maintained a disciplined COVID posture towards the kids and grandkids, seeing them rarely, but FaceTiming frequently.
Kay and I made a spur of the moment trip to northwest Arkansas the last day of April and first couple of days in May to visit Crystal Bridges, and really enjoyed the time away from our new, but quiet, routine. We especially enjoyed the Farmers’ Market in Bentonville; it was filled with activities, young families, and a sense of vibrancy we’ve observed in “big” cities. A few butterflies and dragonflies began to emerge, though no new species were seen or photographed. We did get to spend quality time with Karyn and her family during the Memorial Day weekend, and it was especially poignant in as much as Ridge did his first solo trip in a kayak.
Normally good weather in early June gave way to almost daily rain. And just when we though we were out of the woods with respect to COVID, Kay was potentially exposed; she attended a luncheon meeting and sat next to a lady who herself had been exposed to a person testing positive. However, Kay tested negative. The rest of the month was full of golf, pickleball, and church activities. And then, as the month neared its end, I pulled the left hamstring playing pickleball—no golf or pickleball for a few weeks.