Monday, February 10, 2014

The Caretaker

The Rock Wren remembered.  Passed on from one generation to the next before the Change, the stories were shared from one living thing to the next. The wind carried her forgotten secrets. It whispered......"Ruuuuuubbbby."

The Rock Wren remembered as he peered from his rotted rooftop home at the scarred land below. Rusty old metal scraps supported their weight on the mounds of rock and shattered glass. As he surveyed it all, the bird spotted movement. The whispers were true!

His loud whistle pierced the silence much like the first lightning bolt does during the start of a monsoon storm.

"BEWARE!  BEWARE!  They come again among us!" The mournful cry of the Montezuma Quail echoed their own warnings along the canyon walls. Everything else faded as best they could into the grasses.....vanishing into thin air like ghosts!  But not the Rock Wren.  He just watched with great curiosity.

The passing Javelina and nesting Great Horned Owls made great haste into the trees. It was the Rock Wren who first heard the faint whispers not so long ago.  Not much got by him as he was always moving about on old rooftops and rocks. In fact, that is how he heard about the stories of old. Being extremely curious, the Wren listened intently.

For it was the trees that remembered best.  They whispered their words by breeze and leaf and told the stories of the others who once lived among the Land.

For nearly 40 years, a group of beings came to settle on the Land.  It was a rough life.  At first it was a camp and then it became more. Eventually these beings created structures that the Rock Wren now used for his own home! They dug deep within the earth for the shiny rocks that defaced much of the Land now. There they slept, ate, and raised their young like other creatures do.

At times they fought against another group of similar looking beings .  Now the Rock Wren did not understand this need for loud noise and destruction. And many of the younger trees could not answer his questions. Would these new beings cause more harm to the Land after being absent for so many years?  He knew that if he wanted more information, he would have to go to the source of ancient memory.

So he went to the Great Water Tree along the deep pool and asked why these beings fought.  The Great Water Tree whispered of territories marked along the Land not unlike those created by the Mountain Lion or Bear.  So these beings had established territories.  That the Rock Wren could understand.

But the Rock Wren was still puzzled.  "Then why, Great Water Tree, did they still continue to fight and kill each other? Clearly their territory was marked. Surely they would not cross?"

The Rock Wren had noticed lately that the branches of the Great Water Tree seemed to sag as if the branches were too heavy to hold up.  He also noticed that the water in the dark pool wasn't as deep as it used to be. The Great Water Tree sighed,  "It is not for us to understand."

"But look how they have altered everything around us!  They've even poisoned our Land so that nothing green can grow. Instead of your kind living together, there are great sand dunes that keep you separated!  Even the water is poisoned so that not even my bird friends can drink!  Look at the Coyote.  He stands and hides far away.  I only know he is there when he calls to the bright light in the dark sky."

"They kill each other taking their own kind's things.  Why so much destruction?  I do not understand Great Water Tree."

"It is their way.  And while they no longer dwell here taking from the Land like they once did, you will notice that not far from their old ruins live the other beings who continue to carry things through the pastures and forests.  The Javelinas tell me that these same beings cross through the night with slings on their backs.  Sometimes they fight like the others from before. Wherever they may be, you, Rock Wren, must keep your distance and always alert the others of the Land."

The Rock Wren was puzzled by the Great Water Tree's response. "What shall I do now that these beings have returned to the Land? You are the Caretaker!  I am just a Rock Wren.  My memory is not as long nor as deep as yours! Surely you have the answers!"

The Great Water Tree carefully chose the last words. These days it took great energy to do much of anything. "As the Water disappears from the Land so will I.  You are the Caretaker now. Always keep watch and protect. Pass your knowledge on to your young. Always keep watch." And with those final words, the Great Water Tree slept.

The Rock Wren watched for several days as the new beings stayed together and walked around the Land.  He noticed that even the Coyote or Javelina could not hide from them.  But he also observed that they didn't do any harm to the Land. During the day, they walked vast distances while at night, they ate around a great light. There was much laughter after they drank what appeared to be a lot of dark water.  The following day, the Rock Wren watched them leave.  The Land was once again safe.  The new Caretaker sat on his rooftop lost in deep thought.  He wondered if he would always have to worry about these others destroying the Land around him.  Would more of these beings show up and force his friends away one day?  Could he protect them all?  And so the Caretaker pondered the future of what would be......

I wanted to try something different in my writing form from our last journey to Ruby Ghost Town.  Mining has been on my mind lately and it truly has a great impact on the land around us.  It was very evident here at this site decades later! Water was also scarce as were the birds! If you live around  Southern Arizona, please help keep Rosemont Copper Mine out of the Santa Rita mountains. Mining is bad for the environment and it doesn't belong on that mountain which is visited by thousands of birders and scientists each year.  It will have a long and negative impact on the wildlife if it is allowed to pass.

I'd like to thank Kathy Cooper and Gordon Karre for a wonderful weekend out.  It's always a blast when we explore together.  Until next week.....


  1. Haunting Chris. Even though we had great fellowship in Ruby, we got first-hand experience on the eternal destruction of mining. When you move vast amounts of earth and poison the water, you can never, never put it back the way it was. I am going to post a song by Marty Robbins and a little story on my FB page for you. Watch for it.

  2. Sad but at the same time encouraging. There are people caring out there and each little step is a step ahead.
    Your blog is part of the steps ahead.

  3. Hola Chris!!! Bonitas y variadas imágenes.. Me encanta ese Cardenal rojo.. Y esa luna sobre las nubes.. Un cordial saludo desde España.

  4. Awesome serie of photos!
    Splendid edit!

  5. Great post, Chris! I love seeing the scenes and critters from the old mining town. And the Wren is cute!

  6. Excellent story and pictures. I enjoyed that very much.
    Keep reminding people and maybe they will listen.

  7. I enjoyed the photos and story!

  8. Chris, it is amazing where your mind takes you when you follow your passion! What a story! I hope th9de .Ines never go in. Great pivs¡

  9. I enjoyed your exploration both in sight and narration.

    Pulling for Nature to win one for a change.

  10. Wonderful post! I enjoyed it very much.

  11. Magníficas imágenes, muy bonitas, un abrazo desde Murcia.

  12. mining, pipelines, chemical spills... *sigh*

    LOVE the pied-billed grebe photo! superb!

  13. Very thought provoking, Chris. Good luck with keeping the mine out - we have similiar battles at home too.

  14. Great post - I think we all need to try new ways to saying things, because it seems some people don't listen to the old way of saying.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  15. Perhaps your most beautiful post to date, Chris, with messages from the heart. Loved the photos too!

    Best wishes from Richard - in wind and rain swept UK!

  16. A great post Chris - wonderful writing and photos and so thought provoking. So sad what man is doing to his environment :(

  17. You have a gift! Well-written, Chris. Great photos too. I have more concern, I guess over the San Pedro being preserved. I wish I knew something that could be done!


Thanks for stopping by!