Wednesday, January 9, 2008

December 2007--Joshua Tree National Park--Part IV

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, from Flight to Arras

I love this quote from the author of The Little Prince. In Joshua Tree National Park there are so many things to contemplate--rock piles in the shape of whales, clouds that become horses pulling chariots, swirls of sand that look like miniature Grand Canyons. Much of my fiction is set in the desert... a land of cathedrals and hidden wells.

(JTNP, 2000)

(Rock climbers, Hidden Valley, December 2007)

(Hidden Valley, 2007)

(Skull Rock, Live Oak, 2007)

A final word to describe the desert:

Inspirational: The desert inspires in so many ways. Its vast beauty, serenity, how from a distance the landscape seems barren but on closer inspection is full of life. The way the roadrunner lives in harmony with its environment, how the Joshua tree and the female yucca moth are interdependent for survival. How an oak tree grows in sand and the creosote bush sends down deep roots to survive for a thousand years.

Rock climbers inspire me, their trust in their limbs, ropes, and climbing partners. Mostly their patience as they work their way up a rock.

The big, blue desert sky inspires me. The sun, gentle breezes, rain clouds, and stormy winds.

The rocks inspire me. No two are alike. They cling together in societies of their own, standing against the elements, against the sun and rain and sand. The desert, more than any place, causes me to contemplate.

desert trivia: the female yucca moth has special organs she uses to collect pollen and spread it onto the surface of a Joshua tree flower. Only the seeds produced in pollinated flowers can scatter at enough distance to establish Joshua trees in new areas. In turn, the Joshua tree provides food for the moth's larvae that hatch in the blossom.

Until next time...

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