Thursday, April 9, 2015

my desert

They say the drought in the southwest is as bad as the one experienced 1200 years ago....the drought that drove the prehistoric people from the area, the drought that left reminders in tree rings studied by the experts.
The seasons do change, but the change is subtle, quiet, and tenuous. The days warm too quickly. The storms clouds no longer build on the horizon. The snow doesn't come as often as it used to and when it does, it never lasts long. Instead, the wind blows and the sky fills with dust.
We still wander the high desert, watching the changes in vegetation, (the tumbleweeds are taking over), and wondering what our mesa will look like in ten years, twenty years, from now.
Will the summer monsoons come? Or will the lightning strike, burning the dry pinon and sage?
(Many years ago, I stood on my mesa and watched a tree burst into flames, a single tree, hit by a single bolt of lightning.)

Or will the rain fall, turning the high desert green, if only for a season.

"years ago I came to you as a stranger
and have never been worthy
to be called your lover or to speak your name
most silent sanctuary
more fragile than forests
more beautiful than water
I am older and uglier
and full of the knowledge
that I do not belong to beauty
and beauty does not belong to me
I have learned to accept
whatever men choose to give me
or whatever they choose to withhold
but oh my desert
yours is the only death I cannot bear" -- Richard Shelton

Linking up with Chrisy at living a good north coast life and reconnecting with nature, in all its beauty.


  1. that indian paintbrush.
    awesome photos.
    must be so wonderful to be out in the sunshine,
    just relaxing with a canine pal and soaking in all the surrounding beauty….


    1. Sounds like you're in need of some sunshine up there in the hinterlands. We've got plenty to spare....I'll send some your way!

  2. I sighed and I smiled and I got a little shiver up my spine when I read that poem out loud.
    It's so friggin beautiful and wild and unpredictable, your desert. Those images are some of the best I've seen. Really and truly calls to me. Beckons me.
    To see lightning crash a single pinon. Did you watch it smolder and smoke?! That is crazy. Please be careful out there if it does know you like to be there when the storms put on a show! But, Gretel Ehrlich was hit by lightning. You know the story. I don't want to read another one of those stories! :)
    Marvelous post, desert woman.
    That last picture of your family, I just love it.

    1. I sometimes feel my heart cannot contain all I feel for this place. The high desert called me to it so many years ago and I guess the changes I see are the things that come with aging together, this desert and I. We'll grow old but we'll stay wild.

      We did haul ass off the mesa after the lightning hit the tree. It was monsoon season and a whopping storm was moving in. We left the tent and camping gear on the mesa, jumped in the truck, and raced through the pitch black night back to town.
      Don't want to experience the storm the way Gretel did. ;)

  3. What a great poem to go with your superb shots! The little flowers are just amazing.

    1. Thank you, Betty. The magnitude of the drought out here scares me at times, but the spring flowers always give me hope!

  4. I so love the POP of color in the first photo. Fantastically beautiful!!! You never cease to put a smile on my face with your photos and words. A true breath of fresh air!!! Have a beautiful weekend!!! xoxo

    ~ Wendy : )

    1. The indian paintbrush always make me smile! It's funny how a little color and change the whole landscape in the desert!
      Have a great weekend yourself! xx

  5. it's such a fragile beauty, so completely attuned to the elements and adaptive in ways we humans can only imagine. and, yes-- springtime is always a hopeful season. may there be some spring and summer rains that can sink deep and restorative.

    1. Despite the rugged nature of the desert, it's a very fragile place. If only we could adapt and change the way Nature does. Such a lesson to be learned in that. xx

  6. I can feel the emotion and concern in this post. You're noticing how your Mesa is responding to this period of environmental uncertainty and change. There's so many forces happening at the moment, most particularly climate change, and people all over the world are noticing similar changes. Like you've said we've had significant weather events before, but the speed at which they are occurring and their magnitude is increasing.
    Scary stuff. Do you know if there are any studies on the Mesa on long term impact of the drought?
    Thanks for continuing to link up with Reconnect with Nature, fingers crossed for rain. xx

    1. It scares me, this horrible drought and the effects it has on the place I love. (Not to mention the effects of gas, oil, and OC2 extraction.) Add it all up and I just don't know how these fragile places will survive.....

      Interesting question concerning studies on the mesa. It's pretty remote and no one wanders out that way, save for a few cows and a rancher or two, in search of said cows. But there are prehistoric ruins in nearby areas and the reason we know about the previous drought is because the archaeologists have studied the tree rings of trees used in the construction of the ruins and found evidence of the drought that drove the early people away from the area.

      Rain, please. :)