Aside

Desert Dialogues

Having made up my mind, I left the ocean and went to the desert.

At first, I perceived her as everything she was not. She was not the forest, not the plains, and not the coast. My peculiar reflex revealed itself as a form of bias, the origin of which I could not trace, and thus proved itself unnecessary.

“Say who I am.”

When I acquiesced to her subtle appeal, I could begin to appreciate the simplicity of her essence—a domain of sun and wind, light and heat, air and force, rock and sand.

Above ground, she is a visual marvel with mountains as far as our eyes can see. 

To the north and east, a gradual incline gives way to ecru rolling peaks dotted with scrub. When I see them on bright sunny days, I have to remind myself that I have not been transported to another world. 

To the south, flat land meets the base of burnt umber mountains thrust immediately into the sky at an altitude high enough for snowfall. As I approach them, I honestly believe the loose material will slide down and bury me. 

To the west, another set of whitecapped graphite mountains sit back at a respectable distance, achieving stately grace. 

Under foot, her earth offers no relative comfort, consisting of crunchy pebbles and irregular gravel; yet, like a gift, some of her low-lying areas are surprisingly soft with sand.

While she makes no false pretenses, in time, I discover her secret.

“Deep down, water flows.”