Saturday, August 10, 2013
To my mind & experiences, New Mexico is so very soft compared to the deep Mojave (both the high Mojave and the low Mojave) and the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts, and the Great Basin. I love it all - these arid lands.
In the desert, water IS sacred because it is scarce.
It forces us to change behavior.
On a personal level, I see better in the desert. Something about the horizontality. My vision actually improves - both close and distant. I have no rational explanation for this, but have experienced this many, many times.
Perhaps it has to do with the ability to see the curvature of the Earth.
The way one can watch the weather move in. Then a blasting electrical storm! And then watching the weather move out.
The focusing-in on the tiny, hearty, resiliant life forms..... Lichens on lava flows. Tough desert plants that store up all their energy for years to explode into full bloom when the rains eventually come. Big black beetles moving herky-jerky across the sand. The reptiles - snakes & lizards - reminding us of ancestry. The ravens and raptors so keen and canny and chatty.
The way one can see geological time in the stones and strata. It sets the record straight for me. Reminding us that we are just foam on the surface.
I love it all. And it saddens me that the arid desert lands are often perceived and conceived as "empty" space, wasteland. Where most of our country's nuclear waste gets dispostioned to, with disregard for the indigenous cultures and life forms.
The desert is both a fragile ecology, and a resiliant one.
Contradictory. Complex. Paradoxical.
There are so many astonishing things I've witnessed in the desert. Meteor showers. Lava caves near Zuni with ice in them all year long. The hundreds of thousands of bats flying out of Carlsbad at dusk in a tornado-like spiral. Orchestras of cicadas blasting their songs; their clumsy flight, the shedding of their exoskeletons. I've chimneying up a vertical passage deep underground at Lechugilla and was eye-to-eye with a cluster of crystaline selenite needles that took tens of thousands of years to grow - like a little puff of mineral smoke - you could see right through it. I once saw a moon-bow in the Guadalupe Mountains - an uncanny atmospheric phenomena. Staggering with the Milky Way as the celestial backdrop.
Eve Andree Laramee