Sunday, December 2, 2007

My desert bookshelf

People typically have one of two reactions to the desert: they hate it or love it. I've heard comments like:
"It's too hot!"
"The weather dries out my skin."
"There's nothing but cactus."
"The desert's a pit stop on the way to Vegas."

Those who love the desert enjoy the vastness, the quiet, and serenity. Their eyes light up. They say things like:

"It's peaceful in the desert."
"The sky is such a beautiful blue."
"The clouds. I love the clouds."
"There are so many stars at night. You can't see them in the city."

The desert is about extremes--summer heat and winter freezes. Austerity and abundance. The desert inspires and intimidates. You want to go on a walk but you'd better get your bearings (easy to do in Joshua Tree National Park where trails are marked). Wear sturdy shoes and carry lots of water. I only needed to brush against a cholla cactus once to stay away. The fine white needles stuck all over the knees of my jeans and I had to use a pair of tweezers to remove them from my skin.

There are many wonderful books--written by desert-lovers--about our Southern California deserts. On my bookshelf are some favorites. While spending the night at Roughley Manor, I glanced through The Desert was Home. The novel's author, Elizabeth Crozier Campbell, founded the bed & breakfast inn, originally a homestead property, with her husband Bill. The Desert was Home is out of print and hard to find, by now a collector's item with a price tag of about $100 dollars.

My shelf of desert books is growing larger by the year...

Does anyone else have a favorite desert read?

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