T. E. Lawrence, a/k/a Lawrence of Arabia, loved the desert. Like me he was reared in a rainy climate and later learned that he thrived in low humidity. Unlike me, he mastered the Arabic language. I bought his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, but never managed to finish it. Most authors from the British Isles are dense reads, except for Ian Fleming. (James Bond novels beat Shakespeare any day.) The T. E. Lawrence played in the epic movie by Peter O’Toole offered this wonderful answer to ‘Why do you so love the desert?’ If you saw the film Lawrence of Arabia (feel young if you didn’t: it won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1962), you’ll remember that grin of joy and delight as he replied: “It is so clean!”
It’s so dry. You must be frugal with water, and near zero humidity means you don’t sweat much. Not sweating means you stay clean longer and can save water. If you happen to catch a little rain, you hear the smell of life.
When you were a kid trying to draw something involving the American West, you always drew a saguaro cactus with two arms on the paper in green Crayola. Saguaros live here.
Ocotillo is a long, skinny cactus with hateful thorns and beautiful red flowers this time of year.
The Bureau of Land Management is in charge of most of America’s acreage that no one wants. BLM lands welcome RV campers, and they charge nada unless they offer services such as water or dump stations. Free is good.
Deserts are hard to live in, so nobody lives here. With no people there is no artificial light, and it gets very dark. I saw a crescent moonrise at 4:30 this morning. It was close enough to sunrise to have the golden hue of a rising full moon. Venus was right there with her. Star-gazing here is spectacular.
Even when the days are hot the nights are cool, which means good sleeping weather. An added bonus is absolute silence.
Mesquites have pretty little yellow flowers for a few weeks in the spring. Like free, flowers are good.
You can’t run your television or CD’s off Airstream batteries, but we can use our slow but sure 3G internet. We burned some battery power to play Pandora over our speakers. Last night we heard some cool old sounds on the P-box, but couldn’t get it to play what I really wanted: The Doobie Brothers doing Listen to the Music, or better yet, Another Park, Another Sunday.
Here’s a Doobies link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk4AaPXZgi0
So much nothingness is thought-provoking, and when you pour the Doobies over that, nature takes the form of a religious experience.
6 thoughts on “Nine Things I Like About the Desert”
Hi Jackson and Kat, it was so nice meeting you the other day (Al and Shiela on the motorcycle with our dog Diesel).. We plan to move tomorrow so maybe we’ll meet up again. Please, please, please post a picture of yourselves on your site. I’d like to show my uncle his ‘twin’. LOL
Always nice meeting another Doobie brothers fan also!!!
Shiela, it was wonderful to meet you two, and I wish we’d thought to take a picture. Diesel’s got a good head on his neck, to be willing to stay in his cubicle on the back of a big motorcycle.
As for the picture to show Uncle … Al? … do you want me posed with dark aviators or regular glasses?
Thanks for reading us,
We love your blog! We just discovered it during a whirlwind two and a half week, four and a half thousand mile recon trip. We’ll be back to do the sensibly paced version also covering off a whole lot more locations … sometime!
We are Aussie wannabe grey nomads. We are getting there!
Thanks for your stories and humour. We love William Least Heat Moon also, oh, AND the Saguaro Nat Park.
Allirah & Tony
Hey, thank you for reading us. I never know what’s going to ‘sell’ … two of last year’s favorites seem to be Faraday’s Container and Highway Crosses and a Cemetery. I had thought Glacier and the mention of global warming would start a lot of conversations, but not so much.
Ha ha! I don’t even THINK about that. I figure I’ve got an audience of about ONE – my Mum. Other than that, I just write because I like writing.
I thought we had five, until I learned it was more like twelve!