Friday, November 19, 2010

The beauty of the desert

Though it sounds like an oxymoron, there is a real beauty to the desert that makes me, even now, misty in the eyes. More than just about any other place, it is something that is great, vast and innocent. There is a beautiful, delicate purity to the desert, one that I fear is lost on those who are too blind to see it. While living there, I looked around at the grandeur of it, the simple, stunning majesty of it, and was confronted by people, living in its midst, that felt nothing for it, saw it only as a resource to be exploited for their selfish pleasure, or destroyed in the name of their highly vaunted progress. It made my stomach heave with loathing when I saw its surfaces scared by the wicked claws of humanity's callousness. And feel great pity for those who, while living in its midst, had never truly seen it because they were trapped by the walls of "civilization."

I call the desert innocent because that is how I see it. It is open, clean and pure. You can see from horizon to horizon, and truly understand just how vast it is. There is little cluttering it. The life that lives there is delicate, while struggling to persist and grow, but is at the same time tenacious and strong, unwilling to let itself give up. Its face is rough and hard, but look a little closer, and it shows a beautiful, delicate side, one that is so shy, it takes some coaxing to come out, be it the transient blooming of flowers in the spring, or the furtive animals that hide in the shade of the rocks and bushes. It is tenacious, holding onto its life while barely having enough to survive by the standards of those near it.

The value of this place is not measurable in dollars, but in the delicate beauty of its life, its body and its soul. When I walk the desert and take in its vastness, I come to what might be called a state of reverence. Its such a wondrous thing. And I love it. It is without pretense, modesty or judgement. The desert simply is. And that is the most beautiful thing about it.

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