it’s a cultivated patch of desert, where we live,

Referred to as the High Desert or the Antelope Valley,

Where the sun bakes bright and hard on the desert floor,

Where sagebrush, rabbit brush and bitterbrush compete for space,

With Joshua trees, Jeffrey pine, Juniper and chaparral plants, and

different species of yucca and cacti, where wildlife floral displays can

be seen from mid-March to mid-May, where most prominent

California poppies grow wild everywhere, blooming in the cracks of

sidewalks or coming up in patches of sand alongside the road;

from a distance the landscape of gold are the poppies growing wild-

-while busloads of tourists come up here just to see the millions of

golden poppies in bloom. We even have a poppy festival–something

I knew nothing  about before moving to the High Desert.

The High Desert is home to many different species of wildlife, from

jackrabbits and horned lizards to Prairie Falcons and coyotes, from

rattlesnakes (which I have no desire to meet up close and personal) to

tortoises, Quail and bobcats, roadrunners and chuckwallas (a kind of

large lizard).

The Antelope Valley is home to Mojave Green, the most poisonous

rattlesnake and many different birds that have adapted to desert

climate, the pale crag martin and the barn swallow, bustards and

coursers and roadrunners–birds that cannot fly but run fast across

the desert floor.  It is home to the elf owl, buzzards and crows, and

most notably, the beautiful red-tailed hawk;  it is the home of the

golden mantled ground squirrel and the leopard frog and many

species of spiders and other creepy-crawlers who adapt well to the

hot days of summer and the cold nights of winter–and then there is

the human species, bent on destroying the habitat of all the wildlife

as mankind cuts down the Joshua trees and builds houses, apartment

buildings, shopping centers, schools, churches, supermarkets and

other structures of civilization.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted July, 2009, updated August 12, 2018


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