Categorically speaking

At Home in the Papago Buttes

This post appears under a category, `Among the Creosote.’ I could’ve said `Desert Life.’  It would mean the same thing but then I would not appear clever and smart.  I chose the creosote as a symbol of the desert for several reasons.

It has adapted perfectly to the Sonoran desert and resides in its most hostile areas.  It is the smell of the desert, its fragrance after a rain unforgettable. 

It is beautiful in its own way, with its gray, woody legginess and tiny lustrous green leaves.  It is unappreciated by those who come to desert country and want to change it. 

Officially it’s a weed.  To remove a saguaro, you need a permnit.  To remove a creosote bush, you need a shovel. 

And it has a bad rap, many thinking in error that it produces the disgusting coal-tar derivative, also called creosote,  that is placed on telephone poles and railroad ties as preservative.

I made the innocent mistake several years ago of planting a creosote bush in my backyard.  It is a small backyard and the creosote, now 8-feet high and equally as wide, has taken over, reclaiming a spot where its kin once stood.  There is no room for anything else.  If I have to remove the bush, it will break my heart. 

Another decision I made was to use “Among” rather than “Amid the Creosote.”   The word “amid”  sounds aloof, like you are living with the creosote but holding your nose and shutting your eyes.  On the other hand, “among” seems friendly, like you’re trying to adapt to the desert.

 I am not a tree-hugger.  But I am a cousin, a creosote-bush addict.


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