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I look away - unwilling to see the inevitable.

Under the Tucson Sun

Part magic realism, part homesickness, part memoir, this story explores the native folklore of the American southwest.

By Renée Purdie

So much went through my mind as I saw a tumbleweed outside my window and smelled the scent of gardenias. In a land that was more sky and earth than water and people, I always felt as if my life was on pause, waiting for the tide to come in under a relentless sun that often made it hard to think or breathe.

But there was something that always called me back to the wild beauty of blue sky, mountains and saguaros that towered up to the heavens.

Most people who visit never see the subtle shades of brown on the sun-baked earth, the small specks of red that are our “sand rubies” or the bustling life that can be found under mesquite trees, rocks and cactus. They see thorns and desolation where I see innovation and life.

Letting my eyes wander across the desert, I see my little brother hunting and pecking underneath a bush for a tender morsel, while Mexican poppies create a sea of gold. I look up at Uncle Saguaro seeing his spines and the hole burrowed by mad Auntie Ness.

Sharply, I turn. Something is out of place. A hint of movement has disturbed the repose of the desert.

Overhead, I see it – drawing closer: it’s the king of the skies, Eagle Eyes. I cannot help but exult as he wheels overhead, moving closer to the ground, closer and closer, with wings outstretched.

I scan the desert looking for his target.

She doesn’t have a chance. Her glossy brown eyes dart around and her nose twitches, as if trying to scent for an escape that doesn’t exist. The hard-baked earth will never allow her blunt claws to rend it in time to make her way back into the cool, safe confines of Mahati Earth.

I look away – unwilling to see the inevitable.

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