At the start of our adventure, we hadn’t planned on spending so much time in the desert, largely because we were unaware that there was so much of it in this country. As easterners, when we thought of the desert, the image of brown, scrubby and barren came to mind, a waste land. Never did we think that it was colorful, filled with life, delicate with ever changing landscapes and vistas around every bend. Nor did we know that it would attract us, and spark a desire to want to better understand its mysteries.
Death Valley National Park
The desert southwest is a place where the forces of the planet over millions of years are naked and on display. Tectonic activity, climate change, erosion and weathering in all of its forms are visible and at times confounding. Here is a place where human time is of little significance, history here is best marked by millennia, not days or even years.
Green River Overlook – Canyonlands National Park
The brilliant colors of the desert are emphasized by contrast; green trees next to red rocks, yellow flowers in between orange, emerald waters carving their way through beige hued canyons, puffy clouds with pink bellies in a crystal blue sky are just few. The sparseness of the vegetation often rooted precariously on cliffs, rocks or places that have not seen a drop of rain in weeks stand out as individuals each seeming to tell a story of survival and triumph. I have found my self looking at trees, many of them twisted and contorted, amazed by its perseverance and strength of will.
Lone tree in a slot canyon – Tent Rocks National Monument
The desert is not a place for wimps and is not an easy life. Everything here is in a struggle and has adapted to simply survive. This resiliency of life, clever, cunning, and pushing limits is in my mind heroic. Nothing can survive alone and clearly the desert has a system, but it is a solitary place and most of the creatures and plants live with only distant connections.
Blooming Prickley Pear – Zion National Park
In the solitude there is peace, and in this space, a place for contemplation. In the desert, I have found a place of serenity and clarity, not unlike looking out towards an ocean horizon, or the stars on a clear night, yet different in its Earthiness. Here I feel like I belong to the Earth and we are both connected to something much bigger.
Window Arch – Arches National Park