Life vs. Unlife

Life is not always as it seems. However, if it seems like being a Wilderness Monitor in the Heart of the Mojave Desert would lead me to some awesome places, in this case life is exactly how it seems. The last comprehensive inventory for lands with wilderness characteristics in the Needles BLM office was 1979. I am providing an update to that inventory. Most recently I have been checking then-decided non-wilderness areas to determine if they have reverted to “wilderness”. On my travels I consider if an area is shaped primarily by the forces of nature, offers opportunities for solitude, and has potential for unconfined recreation.

My searches for wilderness have reinforced the fact that the Mojave is not as it seems to culture’s mind’s eye. Even in the hottest and sunniest hours of one of U.S.A.’s hottest and driest ecosystems the air is full of birdsong, bugsong, bees, nonchalance, and spiderwebs. The air is less full of pollen these days, but even cursory glances across the rocky ground reveal tiny Fabacea flowering (with no help from recent airborne water; it has been over a month since a sporadic rain fell over this vast landscape). As I nibble sweet Palo Verde seeds, I reason that some important lesson should be learned from this repeatedly demonstrated dedicated desert patience. The desert chooses life.

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