Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Desert is A Lot More Than Just Rocks and Sand

I wrote most of this in Death Valley... Time to post it today.

In The Desert, The light is somehow, different. There's a spirit that lives here.




Throughout all human history, the desert seems to have been a place that seekers go.

Why is that so? What does it possess that pulls a man so? It is an unforgiving, rough and brutal land. You would think such a stark and desolate landscape would repel, not attract.




In spite of an appearance where only a cruelly hard personality is suspected, it is filled with a voice that speaks to and draws the spirit of a man. To those with the heart to see it, the place is filled with inextinguishable life.




That life is protected within a prickly, armored exterior. You can only find its truths and hear its voice if you lay aside the noise of your ego, your arrogance and your fear.

I have come to believe that the desert is The Sacred Home of Serenity and Solitude.

This "place" the desert, once you look inside, is much like the poultices applied to wounds by healers down through the ages. Layed on a wound, they draw the poisons and infections from the body.

The desert's poultice draws out the poisons and pain that afflict a wounded soul.




Why else would the Boss have sent his son there to seek his peace? Why do you think so many "eccentrics", who can find nowhere else where human society will allow them to simply exist un-molested, find solace and the strength to go on, deep in remote deserts?

It is a place where you peer inside yourself and learn to lay aside the shame and fear that are revealed.

It is a place where you can come to be at peace with who and what you are.






Here those things that seem vague and unintelligible are brought to serene clarity. The line between life and death itself is made stark and unambiguous in the austerity of the desert. You'll find few of the incoherent obfuscations and betrayals of "civilized" society. Here, little is artifice, adornment or embellishment.

Here, if it neither shelters nor sustains it is soon discarded. In the desert ~ life is stripped bare.



Sure, there are those that bring those faults with them. But this country filters out those defects... You may endure for a while, only a while. In the end the afflicted person will make one of three choices. He will learn to put his ego aside and fall into the eternal rhythm here... They will perish in their foolishness, or they leave.

Country like this despises weakness and will demand that one of those choices be made.






Co-operate with it, live in its rhythm, you gain strength and find serenity. Fight it and know futility. It is impervious to your struggle. You have no chance, as if a gnat could subdue a grizzly. Fight it and you, along with the gnat fighting the bear ~ Will Lose.

In that cold simplicity lies its beauty.





Most travelers rush blindly past that revelation looking neither left nor right; focused unknowing, unseeing, uncomprehending... or possibly fearful of?... the spiritual jewels hidden in the land... unseen in their single minded pursuit of one more trail head, one more check mark on their list, one more bit of trivia.

Studying... but learning nothing.




Most come looking with their eyes only, and leave their souls locked in the dark... Completely missed is the greater worth, the greater opportunity; the most glorious jewels they could ever find.

But, shrouded by the hordes are those who come to the desert sagging under a burden. They come in search of the peace that has eluded them in every other place... they come sorely wounded; seeking a respite from the pain...

To those broken souls the desert often speaks in a gentle voice unheard by the many.

The desert provides a place of austere quiet. Its soft breezes caress with a serenity and a purity that allows the crashing battle in your soul to fall silent. Where the wounds are given a chance to heal.

Still, for many, their wounds are the sort that can never heal, Not even in the desert. Yet it will still not abandon the seeker. The desert quietly carries on.




Those broken souls remain in rough and desolate camps scattered across the land far from the deafening cacophony and grasping demands of society; Their unending sorrows are unwelcome in polite society... and so they retreat in self-exile to the desert.

They remain unhealed yet still find their spirits nurtured by the thorny kindness of this austere land.

The un-healing wound retreats only for a time. Heartache will always return to break out anew as memories of ghosts and unending sorrows fester up fresh pain.

They sneak up on you, and like a damned coyote, cowardly waiting for a weak moment to spring its ambush, they strike in those quiet moments when you lay weak and exhausted.

It is in those times when the power of the desert combines with close held friendship and your soul is ferried across the raging sea. A time when courage and the promises made to those long lost drive you on and through.

Courage is not a time without fear. Going on is not without pain. As long as breath remains you push on. It is how you Honor those left behind. You wipe away the tears and live the life their loss passed on to you.

Doing otherwise is to dishonor their struggle for life. Doing otherwise would sacrifice and denigrate your own worth.

Whatever the physical cost... No matter the confusion and doubt, you don't stop. We go on.

Through it all, the desert welcomes you home and leads the way.

It goes on through the eons in its austere and desolate struggle for life... and shows the way for a broken soul to live on.


*High above rises The High Lonesome ~ Cousin to the Desert*

Cousin to the desert is the High Lonesome. When the Desert has restored your spirit... it can soar into the mountains

Just Movin' On
Brian

6 comments:

klbexplores said...

Your post matches my experience perfectly. I currently live in Washington State where two distinctly different parts of the state are severed by a huge expanse of desert and scrub. In the past I drove as quickly as possible out of the area and never saw the beauty or serenity of the wide open spaces. For five years life brought me to a little farming and ranching town in the middle of nowhere where my time on horseback for most of the day communing with the spirit of the quiet land. It was if for the first time my chest was able to fully open and drink in the wide expanses of fresh air. There was a job to be done, but my presence in the universe shifted as I drank in the lessons the land and quiet experience taught me. Your post today touched those memories and an renewed my longing for the quietness of the desert.

Job well done with a beautiful post.

Jack B. Nimble said...

Brian, if you haven't read it, read "Desert Solitaire" by Edward Abbey. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/214614.Desert_Solitaire

M

Brian said...

Thank You Klbexplores. :)

Jack B. Nimble; I read that years ago... maybe time for a refresher... I wonder if I still have it stuffed in that shed with our other stuffed stuff? ;)

Mark Johnson said...

That's a poetry, CowBoy.
Box Canyon Mark

trav4adventures said...

I've lived in the desert for nearly 40 years now and yes, there is a certain beauty about it. I often go out on weekends and take photos. But, hubby and I also LOVE the forests and we spend a week every summer up in the Sierra Nevada! :-)
~~Cheryl Ann~~

sierrasue said...

Beautiful photos !!!!