Thursday, May 1, 2008

Whitewater Preserve--Desert Poetry and Nature Writing Workshop

Only the desert has a fascination--to ride alone--in the sun in the forever unpossessed country--away from man. That is a great temptation.

--D.H. Lawrence

A few Sundays ago my friend, writing professor Ruth Nolan led another wonderful outdoor desert writing workshop. A handful of us writers, including my husband, William, spent a day at Whitewater Preserve, an oasis set back between the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountains off Highway 10 on the road to Palm Springs.

The Whitewater Preserve, a former trout farm, spread over 2,851 acres, is part of The Wildlands Conservancy, a group of five local preserves--areas of dedicated wilderness--that cover 33,000 acres. Whitewater Canyon is an important wildlife corridor for endangered species like the southwest willow flycatcher and bell's vireo as well as a habitat for bighorn sheep. Year round, a river spills over the white rocks down through the canyon.

For part of our workshop the group of us picnicked under a grandfather cottonwood. Ruth gave us a writing exercise using the old tree as a prompt and another using the river as a metaphor.

The preserve has a lodge and picnic area, and is free and open to the public. For more information check out the website here. What an inspiring place!

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