In the desert

The first thing you notice is the color. Ground, yellow. Hills, yellow and tan. Grass, tan and brown. A memory of green in there somewhere. Dirt, yellow to red to brown to gray. Stripes in the rock: rust red, peach, orange, white.

The second thing you notice is the distance. It doesn’t end. If you’re used to horizons you can almost touch, let go. Get disoriented by the spread in every direction. Squint to find the line. Feel small.

The heat bakes into your skin and eyes and hair and your breath is hot in your nose, cool in your mouth.

Things crack open here: your skin, the earth, rocks. The sun sits in the sky. The wind blows and you feel how light you are, how you could fly away, be lifted like a leaf and thrown into the dunes, skittering on the sand, rolling down the hill, weightless, disintegrating.

Rocks jut from hillsides like knuckles, the fingers curled back into the earth, holding it all together. You can put your foot on this rock or that one; put your weight there. Feel the heat it holds, the pressure, the memories of day and night, summer and winter, sun and rain.

Mostly sun. So much sun.

On this hill, the dry brown memory of grass bends with the wind. Opposite, yucca in mounds, waving dead flowers on high stalks, Hello Hello Hello, We Too Were Alive Once.

How do the leaves hold their green, how do the roots find their will to live? I think of green with longing, but nothing else is holding its breath for rain. It is patient, it is patient. Not waiting but being. If it is the season of dryness and yellow, of withering and brown, so be it. The heat waves carry the inhalation, exhalation of the desert. It keeps breathing through the drought. It does not wait to live. There is no ideal season.

There is only this moment, as season follows season. The glory of life is to be alive through all of them. Hallelujah.