Crazy May Day

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Spring is definitely here, though the storms that we’ve been having are still pretty cold. Truthfully, New Mexico is a lot windier than one would think. There’s a legitimate reason for New Mexico having so much wind: it’s something about the pressure in Arizona and Texas being different, so there’s always wind here. I guess there are benefits to the wind. We get to fly kites more often than other places, and since most of New Mexico is open space, there are a lot of good places to fly a kite. And we have the hot air balloons, and winds (not devastating winds, but gentle winds) make the balloons move.

I think I’ve started seeing the winds as a good sign. Usually, if we’re getting severe winds, we’re getting some sort of storm, and in a “green” desert, storms are crucial. When I first moved out here, I had a hard time believing that New Mexico was a green desert. I didn’t really understand what that meant, until we started traveling around a bit more. Unlike a lot of places, there is actually quite a bit of vegetation in New Mexico, and during the spring, summer, and autumn, the hills and mountains turn a light green color, like someone took watercolors and painted over everything.

There are, of course, the natural oasis in this desert. The green ribbon that is the Rio Grande breaks the desert apart and gives a huge splash of color, but it’s not the only green spot. We visited the Jemez Mountains over the summer, and even in the dead of winter, they were green. So were the Sandia Mountains. So, for it being a desert, there is an awful amount of green here.

The only reason I seem struck by this is because, for May Day, we went to the Rio Grande BioPark, which is always a favorite of the herd’s. We didn’t take everyone this time, just the newbies, but it was still a lot of fun. Everything was in full bloom, and it was so beautiful to be there. It really was like a jewel in the middle of the desert. The weather was perfect, too: sunny, but not too hot, though there were a ton of mosquitoes (I’m lucky: they don’t bother me too much, though they were incredibly fond of my person!).

We started out at the Japanese Gardens, which are always tranquil, and came across two great treasures: a heron, and a snake! The heron was very stoic and beautiful, hiding on a rock towards the middle of the pond. The snake caught us by surprise.  We were taking a picture by the waterfall when we looked down by this rock, and there was this Garner Snake lounging in the sun. He seemed curious about us, not curious enough to check us out, but curious enough that he didn’t really move. Sita immediately wanted a picture with him, and thankfully we found a good spot on the rock by him where we could get a picture. He stayed there a long time before he slithered out over the water, leaving a trail of ripples behind him.

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The heron, I should note, did not find the snake, nor did he move from his spot the entire time we were there. He just watched everyone, secure in the knowledge that we couldn’t reach him.

The Albuquerque BioPark really is wonderful: the roses were just starting to go into bloom, and the entire area smelt amazing! The roses are beautiful, with so many different colors, and there were ladybugs everywhere! It was a little early in the season for dragonflies, but we did spot a few of those, and as we got closer to the Bugarium, we even found a few frogs (they were massive…two of the bullfrogs were bigger than me!).

The Bugarium was an adventure all on its own. I like the different insects (okay, I’m not fond of spiders, or centipedes, or scorpions, but I like the others). We were blessed with a rare occurrence: one of the baby praying mantises had escaped. My person rescued it from a drop to the floor, where it could easily have been squished, and the little bugger (haha, like what I did there?) attached himself firmly to Cinder’s tail! Eventually there was a handler that rescued the little guy. I couldn’t believe how small he was: he might have come halfway up my leg, and that would have been on tippy-toes. He was so cute, though! The only Praying Mantis that we’d had any experience with was the little green guy who went up against Thumbalina in our garden. This little guy looked almost like a leaf (in fact, we mistook him for a spider when we first saw him, and there was much freaking out that ensued) and his was really fast. I kinda wanted to keep him as a pet (my person and I talked this over… we totally would have, except we didn’t have a safe place for him to live…or a way to get him safely home…or really didn’t know anything about how to care for a microscopic Praying Mantis…but the idea of having a bug as a pet was still cool), but in the end, we turned him over to his handler, who took him away to make sure he was safe and cared for.

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Seriously: if you can visit a bugarium, you should. They are so much fun! Even the creepy-crawly places (again, not into spiders, centipedes, or scorpions) are fun, in a haunted house kind of way.

Of course we visited the Aquarium as well. We all have a soft spot for the colorful fish and the sea turtles, and the sharks! The Albuquerque Aquarium has a pair of amazing sharks called Zebra Sharks, and the pair are really docile, but when they swim, they are so graceful. My person and I could sit there and watch them all day. This visit, though, we saw that they had a new critter: Nautili! A nautilus is a shelled squid, essentially, and they’re older than the dinosaurs. They’re really deep water creatures, so it was amazing to see them up close!

That was how we spent our May Day! It was a nice break after the freak snow storm (which was really pretty and really weird: there were bright green leaves with snow covering them…). It was an interesting welcome to our newest herd members, Boudica and Selkie (Dodola missed the snow and arrived later).

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