Life is good here in the desert. The town of Cedarville, where I sleep in a bed once a week, with a population of 800, now feels busy. The rest of the week we’re out in the Black Rock desert, in the Jackson range, hunting around for rare and invasive plant species. We have a favorite place to camp that is by a little creek, a rare natural feature in the desert. In the creek we have built up rocks downstream from an existing pool and now have a cool, wonderful, bubbly bath. The swallows fly down the canyon and miss our heads by inches as we soak off the days work and they deftly pluck insects out of the dry air. Bats and nighthawks arrive in shifts at dusk. Lightning flashes in the distance. The silences are so loud they hurt your ears and the blood pulsing through your body is the only sound, perhaps mixing with the wind. There are times when no one speaks and the silence is not nervous. We read out loud to each other, eat big complicated dinners, and sleep to the sound of the creek, thunder, crickets, and the patter of rain on our tents. I often dream in rich metaphor, of friends, and loved ones both alive and dead. We take up our little space, separated by discrete distances, much like the desert flora. Each object highlighted by rock and sand like an art exhibit. I realize now why people fall in love with the desert. It is raw and terribly beautiful. During the day we walk through canyons past old wooden wagon wheel axles, abandoned mines, and small creeks struggling to stay above the rock. We crush sage, coyote mint, and yarrow. The aromatic phytochemicals assault the senses. -e-
From Erik and Tara, Cedarville, written June 19th.