Call of the Desert

Scottsdale, AZ I lead a double life. During the spring and summer, I spend my days exploring lush lowland forests and miles of shoreline in the Puget Sound region. Come November, I feel the pull of southern climes and wake up one day to find myself in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.


It is a land about as far from the lush, misty terrain of coastal Washington as one can get and still be on the same continent.  One drips with moisture and the other cracks from the lack of it. One is bright with light and heat, the other cool and shaded.  Open, laid bone bare and vulnerable versus hidden layers of veiled secrets. Yet both are places of stunning beauty and diverse wildness.

When I left the desert last April, the Sonoran was gearing up for its annual show of cactus blossoms, climaxed by the white crowned saguaros. By October, all of nature typically sags and groans under after burdensome months of drought and intense heat.

This year is different. The desert floor has a furry layer of green. Trees and bushes look refreshed as colorful blooms wink and nod from low growing flora. All this vitality is the result of record rainfall during October and I am reminded again of the life sustaining role of water. In the desert, a little bit of moisture goes a long way and plants eagerly lap it up to carry them through hard times. In years like this, we can expect a magnificent show of wildflowers in the spring.

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I find that moving between such contrasting natural spaces heightens my senses and inner capacity to notice subtle changes. For the next few months, pacific wonder tracker will chronicle the northwest sea and leaf yin as well as the stone and spine yang of the desert. More and more, I appreciate the unique characteristics of both regions.  Desert dwellers are currently enjoying the time of rest from the southern heat and inhabitants of the pacific northwest can appreciate their wet, dark time as a time of restoration and replenishment preparing the way for a vibrant spring.

Happy Tracking!

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References and Resources

Desert USA

Images: SPegany

One thought on “Call of the Desert

  1. Thanks for your lovely contrasting descriptions of two different environments which you enjoy in your Washington and Arizona homes! I don’t know how to access the slide show 😦


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