Thursday, August 27, 2020

Beauty in the Desert

I feel uniquely qualified to write a post with this title. I spent my formative years living in the High Desert of Central Oregon, surrounded by pine and juniper trees, bitterbrush and sagebrush, yellow bunch grasses and gnarled lava rock. The color palette of my childhood was tan, muted green, and gray. The soil was dusty. The air was bone-dry.

It was beautiful.

The skies were perpetually blue. The freezing lakes and rivers were clear. And the isolated, glaciered peaks of dead and dormant volcanic mountains dominated the eye from every meadow. I loved the tiny, anemic-green leaves of the bitterbrush and the smell in the air produced by its equally small, pale yellow flowers in the spring. Orange, fallen pine needles crunched under foot in the summer; dry, white powder muted the world in winter. In the fall, a drive to the mountains might reveal the brilliant red of a lone deciduous bush farewelling its leaves against the black of an endless ancient lava flow.

There is beauty in the desert, not just in spite of its desertness, but because of it.