Beeline, Saguaro and Sky, Salt River, AZ
40×60 oil on canvas
Watch the Creation of Bee Line (One minute)
Sometimes we Arizonans can take Saguaros for granted. We shouldn’t, they are magical, and unique to the Sonoran Desert. This beauty was growing near the Salt River by the famous PHOENIX air marker that has been guiding pilots west to the Phoenix airport since the 1950’s. Before radio navigation was widely available in small aircraft, pilots got around by flying by landmarks. By 1941, some 13,000 marks had been painted on barns, hangars, oil tanks, and train stations. Many were ordered to be destroyed on the heels of the Pearl Harbor attack. The Phoenix sign was created under the direction of an ex WW2 Pilot, and boy scouts took on the project of building the sign from found rocks. It’s a favorite sight for those approaching Phoenix by air.
On this morning, the bees didn’t need a sign to know where to land, they knew what to do. They were on their final approach to Saguaro international, where they happily pollinated and filled the air with the hum of productivity. How I love the things make the valley of the sun unique and so very special.
From the True Blue Arizona Collection
Arizona Highways Magazine project
An up-close view of the Phoenix air marker on Usery Mountain.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez-KJZZ)