[gallery columns="1"] There is something about the desert that makes me feel more deeply connected to the universe than any other environment. I know this sounds very new age-y and hippy spiritual, but it is the best I can come up with in the limited amount of time I am interested in spending at my keyboard right now. I have not spent an inordinate amount of time in the desert, can count my desert experiences on one hand - most of them in Joshua Tree, one near Bryce Canyon and this past weekend in Anza Borrego - but every minute I've spent in the desert has felt like a whole new awakening to all that miraculous in the world. Whether it is the sudden sound of water trickling in an environment of boulders, sand and cacti or the flash of bright pink blooming forth from a plant too prickly to touch, the desert is full of surprises. The more I am willing to pay attention, turn down the volume of my thoughts and listen, the more rewards I am given.
Do you have any idea how bright and colorful the desert is? It is a palette of silvery greens, eye-popping fuschia, turquoise the color of a Bahamian ocean, bright yellows, pale lavender and bold, clean whites. At certain times of the year, flowers abound and at certain times of the day, rocks sparkle in the sun like glitter. Bees buzz louder than anywhere else and the crunch of hiking boots on the sand has its own unique harmony. In the desert, paying attention is the most important activity, looking closer the most rewarding experience.
I feel safe in the desert, at home in a world, where, if only for a brief time, I am given a glimpse into all that is possible. As if the existence of such color, delicacy and beauty in such a harsh environment is all I ever need to know about life. The desert is all about essentials like water and shade, and a horizon that is all about expansion. Whatever I bring to the desert is all I have - my hiking boots, sunscreen, hopes, fears, and memories. In the desert there is room for all of it, room to let my mind wander and travel along the landscape, whispering like the wind, spreading the seeds of my dreams.