Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two discarded shoes

Among the flotsam (or is it jetsam?) I found along the Gulf shore on my epic journey to America's South was this single walking shoe, although that looks like it might be a small child's sneaker immediately above and to the left. Needless to say, I neither noticed nor investigated the little shoe. I can certainly understand the urge to kick off one's shoes to walk barefoot on a nice sandy beach -- river sandals are for waters that hide unpleasant surprises where you least expect them. Which still doesn't explain why only one of each.

Now this cast-off saguaro shoe (or boot) is a different matter entirely. I found it in my patch of ice plant several days ago, courtesy of a neighbor, a professional who periodically combs the desert (and the uplands) for archaeological sites. Explanation per the Colossal Cave web page: Gila Woodpeckers and Gilded Flickers hollow out holes in [saguaro] stems. These they use for a year and leave for lizards, insects, and other birds. To counteract what could be devastating moisture loss, the saguaro secretes a substance that hardens to form a callus lining the damaged area, creating a water barrier and a nice nest hole. Eventually, when the saguaro dies and the flesh decays away, what remains are the ribs and the saguaro "shoes" or "boots." My understanding is that the holes are especially popular nesting sites among cactus wrens. Needless to say, I'm pleased to have this cactus relic.

7 comments:

Nephew Grayson said...

Hey Aunt J! Nice story and lovely pictures. Keep working hard!

worldphotos4 said...

I don't recall the last time I saw two shoes on the side of the road or in a ditch. It's always one. I bet there are some strange stories there.

Artful RV Adventurer said...

Remember a few years ago when it was in fashion for kids to wear unmatched shoes??
It was a very "unsettling" style that has... for better or worse... been replace by piercings and tattoos.
What's next?
The Artful RV Adventurer
Mark

Granny J said...

tall nephew -- Good to know you've read my blog. You should be telling me to "have fun!", not work hard. That's for kids.

steve -- the only time it's a pair throwaway is when two shoes are tied together & tossed over a power line.

mark -- there's absolutely no way to guess what the style will be next time! I'm old enough to have given up guessing.

Tall nephew said...

Quick update: I'm now officailly a blogger!


And have fun! Because wroking is for kids.

Jack said...

Oops!! I can't believe that the thing appear in second photo is a shoe?

Granny J said...

jack -- and I'll bet you wouldn't believe that the storage compartment at the rear of a vehicle is called a boot in some parts of the world, either! Just Google saguaro shoe...

 
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