I never much liked the Arizona desert during my first visits as a young adult visiting my family. I liked the ocean, mountains, and redwoods of Northern California where I spent so many of my adult years, and I loved the lake and woods and corn fields where I spent my teenage years in Wisconsin.
But I’ve learned to love the desert, where it takes open, relaxed attention to notice the tiny flora and fauna hidden in huge expanses of landscape punctuated by the larger saguaros, cactuses, Palo Verde trees, and other desert life. In California I hugged trees and felt their energy directly; in Arizona I’ve learned to expand my perception–to look, listen, and sense from both close and afar.
For me, the desert, like the ocean, echoes and amplifies the big questions of life and death that arise in all of us. The profound desert stillness and silence, made especially poignant by the expansive ever-changing sky, the nearby mountains, and the intermittent sounds of wind and birdsong and dogs barking and coyotes howling in the distance, resonate with and help awaken the silent stillness that dwells deep within.
Copyright 2016-17 by Dennis Lewis