100 miles of dirt. Haven’t seen another car for hours. The pronghorn scatter as we rumble by and even the Ravens seem to have moved to a cooler place.Thermometer reads 103F degrees as the afternoon wanes in the flatlands, but it was a frosty ninety-nine on arrival in the remote desert mountains. Ninety-nine … in the shade. The wind whips the dust, blowing silt and blasting fiery air like something out of the Sahara. Not much you can do aside from set up the chairs and wait until the sun sinks, and the wind finally makes its evening shift. Even as I take notes, dust coats the pages of my notebook before I can even turn the page. There is no sound, aside from an incessant whooshing of the desert’s hot breath as it rushes through the low brush and by my ears; the pen grates against the paper as I write. I look up, not a cloud in the sky. I close the book – and my eyes – and wait for the winds to pass and the moon to rise. The night’s reprieve will be most welcome, I think to myself, as a sleeping bag is unfurled and a cold sandwich made. I’m looking forward to the stars silent dance above my head.
Dawn. Within minutes, the heat begins its inevitable ascent. Initially fleece tops, long pants, socks, shoes. But before the hour passes, pants are replaced by shorts, fleece by sleeveless, and I am barefoot … soon even these clothes seem too much. 9AM … my companion asks the question before I can even form the words … “Is it time to move the chairs to the shade … and do nothing?” Nothing but watch the earth as she breaths life into a new day. Yes, I think so.
Ah, but there is life here. So much life, so rich, so many colors … more colors than my eyes have ever seen. A thousand subtle shades of blue and green and yellow and red … all blending one into another like the sweep of a giant brush from watercolor palette. Dawn awakens to a pastel sky and silence. Silence so deep, all one hears is the air itself. The sound of your own breath breaks the stillness, and the heat ripples begin to rise so rapidly I swear you can hear their surges as well. And then the flutter of wings … delicate butterflies dancing by the ear to land on shoulders and shoes. Sweet kisses bring smiles of joy. Grasshoppers drum as they leap through the stillness, itsy-bitsy spiders hop from rock to rock and tiny lizards scamper for shade. A day in the desert begins…
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