Tag Archives: desert

The Sky in a Broken Mirror

Little Morongo Wash in Desert Hot Springs CA.
Little Morongo Wash in Desert Hot Springs CA.

Walking in the desert with the dogs for the last time I saw this mirror. It is a sadness to me that the desert is used as a trash dump, but there was a kind of beauty in the way the blue sky was mirrored. The cracks made it seem like a parody of water in a dry place in a state experiencing crippling drought.

Blue sky in a broken mirror.
Blue sky in a broken mirror.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Broken.”

I am on a Journey…

I am on a journey. I have taken this route many times before, but this time is a bit different: it is likely to be the last time I come to this place. This is not a melancholy thought: I don’t like it here, and my grandmother, the only reason I come here, is moving closer.

It isn’t a crisis. Thank goodness, one of those at a time is quite enough. It is a kind of business trip. Get things packed up and arranged for movers.

As I drove along the 1250 miles between my house and here I thought about all the stops and side trips that I was going to make someday. But I didn’t stop at any of them. The only stops I made were at places I knew. Not in a reminiscing way, but because I knew where to turn and what to expect.

It was a beautiful drive and, at several points, I thought that I wanted to take a picture, but there was no where convenient to pull off at the moment. I did not take a single picture all the way down. No record of this last trip.

After coming here for 44 years I expected to feel more. I recently scanned some photographs that my dad took on the first trip we ever made down here. The desert has changed, the route itself has changed, and so have I.

I wonder what is next?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Journey.”



Desert in Bloom

Here are a series of pictures playing with desert wildflowers,  landscapes, scale and observation. The flowers are quite small, the dandelions were the largest, so it was difficult to get a viewpoint that has both the flower and the overall sense of the desert that I wanted, to show the flowers as a frail and fleeting bit of color in a harsh environment.

These two are both taken with the same stand of dandelions at approximately the lower right rule of thirds intersection point:

These flowers are shown first looking down from above, neither is particularly obvious in the shot of the desert floor. But they are pretty and colorful when I put the camera on the ground beside them.

This blue flower was more noticeable from a distance. I deliberately did not try to exclude the piece of debris as the desert is full of it after being used as an informal garbage dump for so long.

Walking Dogs in the Desert

Another metaphor: which way do we go? Ginger wants to head north, Sammie wants to head south.  Both directions have good things to smell, jack rabbits to chase. How do we choose?

For me either direction is fine…so long as we all go in the same direction. As long as we are leashed together we need to add that component to any decision, or we will wind up wrapped inelegantly around the creosote bush. The way we generally choose is whichever dog pulls the hardest picks the path.

This often happens in my life. I am more about process than direction. I can see the advantages and disadvantages to both sides and I get pulled along in whatever direction someone else wants to go, usually working as hard as I can to keep us from getting tangled up in leashes and creosote bushes.

This past year I traveled to Desert Hot Springs, California 6 times. My grandmother lives there. I flew round trip in January to take my grandmother to have a kidney stone removal procedure…the second procedure that didn’t work. I flew down in March to be there for her birthday, then drive home with my father who had spent a month or so down in the Palm Springs area. I drove round trip in July to bring grandma (plus dog, Ginger) up to Seattle to visit family during the hottest part of the year. Another driving round trip to take her back in late August. Two more flying trips this fall, the first to check on her after she came out of rehab for a broken arm and the second because my uncle was dying.

I feel a bit like I am wrapped around the creosote bush.  The question is not just which way to go, but how to untangle myself first. Do I cut the leashes and not worry about the others (or, perhaps more accurately, worry but try not to care overmuch) or patiently (or not so patiently) untangle things? Once free, I need to figure out which way to go.