Fortuna Pond – a desert oasis among the lettuce fields

Keith and I took a drive out into the agricultural area surrounding Yuma last week. I didn’t expect to see field after field of lettuces. Green leaf, red leaf, romaine, cabbage, kale – on and on as far as the eye can see. And ditches of water winding between the rows. Watering the baby lettuces and making them grow into lush plants.

A group of workers in long-sleeved shirts, gloves, long pants, and hats that shielded their heads from the sun. Some hoed the rows, removing weeds. Some picked grown heads and packed them into boxes. Some drove trucks. Men and women working hard alongside each other.

Then it was lunchtime and the crews headed to a shaded area to eat. No tables and chairs, just the relief of a few minutes out of the sun. Orange and yellow GOT buckets full of water. Laughter and friendly conversation. All too soon, the break ended. Back to work.

We drove on. Fortuna Pond is a wide spot on the Gila River. Cottonwood and native trees and sage mingle around the water’s edge and out for a few yards in every direction. A dirt road circumnavigates the perimeter of the pond. A few cars parked around the edges. Some fishermen casting and a foursome of retirees shooting the breeze along the beach.

We parked facing the pond and ate our lunch. Coots and ducks paddled by and a hawk circled overhead. Fluffy white clouds floated on the breeze. We stayed for about an hour. Long enough to take a few pictures. Long enough to soak in the sound of the breeze rustling the trees. Long enough to remember what quiet feels like. Then we drove back to town.

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Fortuna Pond, Arizona

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