For several days (maybe more) your invites, I ignored. I do hear you, but I would rather not be bothered by the heat and your prickly thorns. “Grab your camera!” I hear you saying to me, “You must see my canvas, that the monsoons transformed.” Fine! I will go!
I have arrived with my camera in tow. I ask you; this place I call home, what is it you want me to know?
I wanted to put on a summer dress and sandals and lose myself in museums downtown, but because you would not leave me alone, I am in the hot desert kicking dirt, bushes, and stones and swatting at mosquitoes.
So, I ask you again, this land where I drew my first breath, what is it you want me to know?
Not at first, but the answers did come with each camera click and with the rising sun…
Some of us arrive in a setting that is not a perfect fit, we are just misfits wondering if the stork misplaced us when it stopped for a rest. There must be more to our story. One can hope. Maybe the answer lies in what we needed most – to be planted in soil where we can best evolve and grow. Perhaps if I had taken my first breathe with a cool gentle breeze and if my first lullaby had been sung by the laughing leaves, my nature may have remained too soft, too sensitive, too carefree. Instead, the desert’s rough edges have made me strong. A seasoned observer of bone-rattling thunder and cactus-splitting lightning – I can face any monsoon. I know how to harness its sky-tearing power to propel me forward. I can meet a rattling snake and not shriek in fear; its hissing is not the sound of my nightmares. I can meet its forked-tongue and stare into its reptilian eyes – calm it I most surely would. Its deadly weapon is not there for provocation; it is there for protection. It means no harm; nor do I. We are both just travelers on this dusty road.
I see now, through a dirty windshield, the lessons this land has offered me. I will no longer curse it for its relentless heat or wish it something else to be. Rather, I will accept it for what it is and thank it for its many gifts, then I will get to planning next summer’s writing retreat – somewhere cool and unseen, and I will be there for three months, not two weeks! 😁
Maybe not in this lifetime, but someday I may know what it feels like to be cradled by a land that feels like home, until then as a tumbling tumbleweed, I will roam.
Moonshine got me… not. I am not a drinker of moonshine; it’s not my cup of tea. Actually, I would choose a cup of tea over a shot of alcohol, but I chose Daniel Norgren’s song because the tone and rhythm match what it feels like to be out in the quiet desert. My paternal grandparents, who moved from the Midwest, did make moonshine in their shed. I remember looking up at that big brown jug sitting on the kitchen counter. My poem, “Radishes Seeds Buried under Concrete,” is dedicated to their memory. 💕
I am not complaining, but… the Valley of the Sun just hit 21 days of temperatures above 110 degrees. F. 🥵 A new heat record. 😭
Enjoy your journey. 🦋 Thank you for visiting. Be well. 💗 Michele
Find more of my photos on Instagram ~ @mlsefton
Nature photos: my images, somewhere in the Sonoran Desert Photo of me taken by JBG
© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton.