Ramsey Canyon: A Walk In the High Country

August 31st, 2016 · No Comments

by Jane St. Clair

The Nature Conservancy’s beautiful Ramsey Canyon is where Tucson people go to escape the heat …

People ask us here in Tucson,

Sonoran Desert by Jane St. Clair

“How do you stand the 110 degree summer heat? “

desert 2

We desert rats think to ourselves,”What wimps for asking!” …
… yet our polite answer is, “We go up to the High Country!”

Arizona High Country near Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair

Arizona High Country is only a few hours out of town. One nice place in High
Country is Ramsey Canyon, world-known for gorgeous hummingbirds

Hummingbird in Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair

And dorky looking frogs.

Frog in Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair

The Ramsey Canyon trail is steep and uphill, but worth it for the view. The
country is a mix of desert and mountain pine, because it is where the
Sonoran desert meets the Rocky Mountains.

Ramsey Canyon Trail by Jane St. Clair

About half-way up I see a mama turkey with six babies. I did not know
that turkey babies climb up Mama Turkey’s back for rides.

Ramsey Canyon Wild Turkey by Jane St Clair
I make friends with a squirrel. He jumps around in Shakespearian iambic
pentameter …

Under the Greenwood tree …
who loves to lie with me …
Here shall we see no enemy
but winter and rough weather …

Da Dum da dum da dum da dum…
Friendly Ramsey Canyon Squirrel by Jane St. Clair

I forget that the Canyon has bears and puma and I take the colors of
the many greens and the sweet way the trail winds.
I watch a spider happily at work.
And I spot a gentle deer in the meadow, and watch him as
Deer in Ramsey Canyon 1 by Jane St. Clair

he leaps like a springer spaniel to eat some leaves.
Deer Springing in Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair
I follow him into tall grass,
Deer in High Grass, Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair

all the time all spaced out watching him, all rapturous like St John of the Cross

I was so caught up and rapt away,
In such oblivion immersed,
That every sense and feeling lay
Of sense and feeling dispossessed;

I do not notice a coiled-up rattler at my feet —
his hissy sound like water rustling —
his mean little hooded eyes —
and his awful open serpentine mouth!
YIKES! Run away!

Scared Squirrel in Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair
Suddenly formerly friendly forest is forebodding!

Forebodding Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair
Every tree looks like a monster!

Monster tree Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair

Friend-squirrel stops to eat; he knows my mind is playing forest tricks
on me. He also knows I stepped on the snake first.

Squirrel end in Ramsey Canyon by Jane St. Clair

Did St John ever get so spaced out that a rattler snapped at him? I think
about that as I wander up to the top of the mountain and watch
civilization below. I take it in, no longer thinking, just feeling the
transcendental experiences St John knew so well:

Ramsey Canyon Overlook by Jane St. Clair

I entered – where – I did not know,
Yet when I found that I was there,
Though where I was I did not know,
Profound and subtle things I learned;
Nor can I say what I discerned,
For I remained uncomprehending,
All knowledge transcending.

It is time to leave, but in the new stillness of my heart,
I know that I will come back to High Country sometime soon.

Ramsey Canyon Leaf by Jane St. Clair

Jane St. Clair’s very short story,“Roadkill,” won Literative’s July 2016 Contest.

Tags: Arizona photography · Jane St. Clair · nature essay