A Desert Soul

“You’re such a desert soul,” he said.

What does that mean?

Up until now I have been a mountain momma.

I suppose I’m growing into new love,

Expanding what I consider to be beautiful:

Curvaceous rocks and hairy cacti,

Twisty juniper bark and their spongey leaves,

Slick white rock faces and dust in my shoes,

Dry sage and flat mesas flabbergast me when I walk to the edge

And look not only out, but down-

Deeply moved now by canyons

Carved by unseen water.

Mystery lies in those divots and shadows

Who plunge deep into the earth

And then my heart is surprised to traverse them among the trees:

Fat ponderosas and spreading firs

Untouched and massive at the bottom of the canyon

Where I assumed there’d be nothing,

There is familiarity.

Wherever I find myself in the desert,

I look with eyes of love.

Is this love really so different than the love I’ve felt for mountains?

While I look up to the mountain in grandeur,

In the desert I look down.

I drop to my belly and stare

At the minuscule miracles of life.

Inhospitable is incorrect

For I feel at home in the dusty desert.

Perhaps the love I feel is for land itself

And I am learning to love all,

To see all and learn under the same night sky.

In the desert I feel alone,

As if I am the sole life moving through a space that sits.

I wander until the calm of the canyon compels me to stop and consider:

What does it take to be a desert soul?

Resilience and resourcefulness

Curiosity and coordination

These are the same qualities required of a mountain mamma.

So what is it about the soulful desert dwellers that sets them apart?

I don’t know what it takes to be a desert soul,

But I can tell you how the desert has set my soul on fire.

A mountain is large-

It’s easy to see the beauty looming over me

In a way that screams:

I AM POWERFUL!

The desert is vast-

It’s easy to miss the life concealed underneath me

The desert whispers softly:

I am full of power.

It invites me to listen to stories of survival

It challenges me to thrive with less.

My preconceived notions of a barren wasteland are constantly proven wrong

The desert does not scream, it whispers.

It inhales the orange sun and exhales red rock.

It breathes at a quiet and steady rate

Where the mountain blows snow and sucks sun.

It hyperventilates winter and summer fast,

While the desert creeps and crawls

With gratitude for sparse resources.

Have I become a desert soul?

I do not know, though I am coming to understand

A canyon calm which balances my mountainous energy.

Soulfully I shall seek what treasures await

In the diverse desert of the heart.

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