I’m more than slightly irritated that the desert has become so mainstream. You see it in home decor, fashion, art and pretty much every other form of marketable, well, anything. Every mainstream store is carrying the modern version of some desert-wildflower-boho gypsy you name it type of thing and everyone wants it because it somehow sparks their hippie love child wanderlust inner self and in buying, wearing, decorating with it you are somehow living free and wild and happy.
Don’t get me wrong.
The desert is fascinating.
The people who choose to live in the desert, just as fascinating. But, for the record, none of those people moved to the desert so that they could be mainstream and hung on someone’s wall. The desert is meant to be odd and harsh and intolerable. And while you drive through it you absolutely should be thinking who the hell lives out here and how the hell do I get out? Life in the desert is not about wearing gauzy skirts that blow in the wind just perfectly or smooth bronzed skin that glistens in the sunset. No. No way in hell.
The desert is about heat and drought and leathery skin and pokey plants snagging your clothes as you trail by. It’s wandering and loneliness and death and suffering.
It’s downfall is, ironically, it’s draw. Without the desert, we may never know the deep loneliness of wandering. And without wandering, we may never know the raw strength of being found. And in being found, we recapture the wonder and awe of God and our place in his story.
The desert was created for that. The desert was created for wandering.
SIDE NOTE #1: My recent attempt at a 2 day desert wandering pilgrimage turned into a one day overnight at a desert campground with my toddler, which then turned into a 1/2 day 6 hour car ride with her to see some dilapidated desert art (which is so incredible...a must see -- Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum) and eat at a Panda Express in a modern, bustling desert town just to drive back home and watch Dolphin Tail on Netflix.
And it was so worth it.
SIDE NOTE #2: Anticipating a photography weekend making images of vast starry skies and textured details of yucca plants, what I actually shot leaves a lot to be wanted. A lot. I guess I will have to have a go at that another time. But we had fun imitating Joshua Trees, posing for shots in some large scale art and running around in the dirt. Sometimes you just have to take the picture for the sake of documenting it..."Remember going to that quirky art museum of trashed dwellings and toilets and random people's junk? No? Well, here's proof you were there"...that kind of documenting. For what it's worth. It has it's place.