The Garden of Eden is placed somewhere in the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers by those using the Bible as a source; however, current archeological evidence points towards Africa as the birthplace of humans. We've spread out a bit since then.
Still, it seems to me that there are many places where the real Garden of Eden - the natural world in which we evolved - can be enjoyed. During the seasons when the weather is well above freezing, I'm good for the day with a bottle of water and a snack.
This place might be pretty far west of Eden, but it sustains abundant life, and has its own rugged beauty. And - - - no talking snakes or power-tripping deities.
A Northern Harrier [Circus cyaneus, female] glides by.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird [Selasphorus platycercus].
Returning home, I find some deer resting in the shade in the yard, and the bird feeders busy.
A Black-billed Magpie offers pest removal services.
I am pretty sure this is the first time I have ever seen the spectacular Lazuli Bunting [Passerina amoeba]. Wow.
A real rainbow family. The cast of characters:
Mama carries the usual color scheme of the Red Fox - an orange-brown with white along the jaws and underneath.
Papa is a so-called "Silver" fox - the melanistic form. He is mostly black, with a splash of silver at the tip of the tail and some silver tipped-fur elsewhere.
And "Junior". The kit is already old enough in these photos to have lost his charcoal baby fur except on the legs and paws, and his eyes have already changed from baby blue to yellow.
I feel so lucky and privileged to see these beautiful animals up close.
The red-naped sapsucker [Sphyrapicus nuchalis] is a medium-sized woodpecker common to the lower elevations of the Rocky Mountains. They drill holes in trees and feed on sap as it wells into the holes. They also eat insects, seeds, and berries.
This male was chipping holes into a ponderosa pine.