Summer Rain

Danny has a post on Cross Streets about his loathing of living in the desert. I felt the same way when I lived in both Roswell, NM, and Moses Lake, Washington. This is not a commentary on people who love such places. I’m just saying that I don’t like the desert. The people who live there and love it are fine with me. I just prefer greener pastures in a literal sense.

Danny writes:

It is dry, hot, dirty and dusty.  There’s no song here, only a raspy whisper,  like that the sound of the plea for water on the parched lips of a dying sojourner.  Its musicless “lyrics” are the same as its refrain.  “Water, water; need water.”  Every plant unfortunate enough to find its roots probing beneath the rocky surface warns with its dangerous spines and thorns against any who would dare impose on it for just a little of its life giving moisture.  The sparse dots of green that these plants present to the squinted eye all tell the same sad story.  For every green branch that has managed to eek life from the trunk in this lifeless place, there are two or more grayish skeletons of branches to match, dead and withered, which either still cling with a dead grip to the trunk, or which have finally collapsed amongst their decaying brethren below.  They warn all life in this place of its ultimate fate, death by thirst.  The Cholla, with its deceptively attractive spines that appear as fuzz, all stand amidst an above-ground graveyard of its own webbed skeletal remains.  And the aromatic choya, with its rock-hard and thin scraggly branches, fills the desert with the appropriate scent of “burnt”, should a fiery thunder cloud dane to provide a burst of water on its beggar underling.  Ahh, and then there’s the wash, which presents the longing eye with the appearance of water as it reminds of recently dried flows with its smooth stones and evidences of bygone currents.  It tortures taunts and teases with what might could be, if only… water.

In view of that, I took this shot two weeks ago during a downpour here in eastern Tennessee.  Hope that it helps Danny remember the greener days of his youth.

Summer rain


4 thoughts on “Summer Rain

  1. Yep. I’m glad that you didn’t constantly complain about the desert during your exile here. It is true that there are “desert people,” but we have to remind ourselves often of the less-than-obvious advantages of living here.


  2. Oh dear. It should read “the aromatic creosote bush” not cholla. There are other mistakes that I corrected. My wife and I were talking just this morning. I was telling her what a love/hate relationship I have with writing, how it’s one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever attempted to do, and how I love to keep trying even though I seldom judge anything I’ve written as written well. But I keep trying. Lady improvement seems so stingy with her allotments and I have a mind like a steel seve to boot.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my little paper. I’m the only one in my family that doesn’t like the desert so I’ve had to learn therefore to make peace with it, if only on the outside. I’m not allowed to complain, and so it’s good anti-complaining / contentment training for me. This paper came from an absolutely miserable stroll with my family the other morning, and a particular moment when I stopped and studied the ugliness of the plant life next to a dry wash. I do believe that I wouldn’t mind the desert so much if I could keep such strolls to a minimum :). And of course, the desert does have its positives… I think perhaps…. maybe.


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