Prickly Conversations (audio)

“Prickly Conversations” (audio – poetic prose)

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.

77 thoughts on “Prickly Conversations (audio)

  1. Lovely musings on the environment and how it can shape us Michele. I’ve moved several times in my life, but still don’t feel I’ve really found my home or place I love. Kudos for making peace with your dessert home and becoming tougher and wiser.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautifully said, thank you, Brad. I have moved many times too. It can be exciting learning about new places and meeting new people, but it can also be stressful. Such is life, right? My daughter’s boyfriend asked me, “If you could live anywhere, where would it be?” My response was, “I don’t know, because I haven’t been there yet.” 😊 Thank you, with age comes some wisdom and acceptance for what is, and the freedom and resources to make cooler plans. 😆 Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy your surrounding nature. 💚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe so, yes. 🧘🏼‍♀️ Externally, I am ready to hop on a plane and land on land that doesn’t scorch and burn. 😆 Maybe your remedy can be found in traveling when possible, if that is a possibility for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Timothy Price

    And so we tumble our way along dusty roads though the prickles of life, summer dresses left hanging, sandals without feet, to face forked tongues, rattles and mosquitos, looking forward to the next time. I love it, Michele.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fantastic! Thank you, Timothy. When we focus on the beauty amid the thorns, we can be transformed. Of course, it can be challenging to see and appreciate life’s beauty when sweat is in your eyes. 😂 Enjoy your weekend amid your natural landscape. 📷😀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Timothy Price

        The thrones are beautiful if we don’t get stuck on them. They say “you can’t see the forest for the trees”. In our parts of the worlds we can’t see the desert for the sweat in our eyes, and miss the beauty as you stated so well.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Such a beautiful perspective! The imageries of cactus-splitting thunder and staring into the snake’s eyes are marvelous. I love the whole description of the desert life. ❤
      Also, it’s nice to hear your voice after a long time. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It is wonderful to see your beautiful face, Mya. I hope that life has been treating you well. I look forward to reading your creative posts again. 😊 I am very appreciative of your feedback, thank you! Best to you. 💐

        Like

      2. Thank you 🙂 Well, tears came out of my eyes! 😢 I don’t think that anyone has ever told me that they are happy to see my beautiful face. You are very kind. 💓

        And I just realized that I commented on someone else’s comment. 😅

        Anyway, life has been treating me well with some ups and downs here and there. I will post more frequently on my blog now. Thanks for appreciating my works.
        I love reading and listening to your poems too! 💖

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, now I am going to cry. I meant it and reading your comment I am so glad I wrote it. 💗

        haha I have done that before. 😆

        I am happy to read you are doing well and look forward to reading your posts. Thank you for visiting and appreciating mine. Much appreciated. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It truly can be. If one can see beyond the dust and understand its dangerous side, there is beauty to be found. The smell of creosote after a rain is magnificent and reminiscent of childhood, playing in the desert. Sadly, the smell is fading with urban sprawl and less rains. 🌧
      Thank you for your visit and comment, Nico. Have a lovely day!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. One of the many things on my so called bucket list, to wander freely through a desert landscape, capturing its beauty. Your photos are amazing, but the desire to capture it myself lingers and in fact increases every time I see what others have discovered through the lens of their own cameras and life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, how wonderful! I do hope that for you, Rebecca. 🙏🏼 The heat is truly my kryptonite, but there is much to see and learn from the desert landscape. I suggest making travel plans in the spring, whichever desert landscape you choose, and of course, pack lots of water and sunscreen. It is not uncommon for tourists to visit the valley of the sun and get into major trouble, sometimes fatal, because they underestimated the heat. All avoidable with smart planning. Best wishes to you on your desert escape! 🌵 🌞😎

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you. One thing I learned is no matter where I am, carry water. We were going to hike a long trail once years ago and a ranger stopped us to give the safety speech and make sure we had water. I showed her all that I had in my backpack and she smiled approvingly. Even on my short hikes close to home I have water as I’ve seen what not having it can cause. I love hot weather, but I also have a respect for it as much if not more than cold. People tend to forget there is great danger in both.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Very smart! I never leave home without my green Hydro Flask. 😄 Well said, Rebecca. Freezing winters present their own challenges and I feel for those who endure those extremes. I lived in Denver several years ago and quickly learned I did not have a proper coat when winter arrived. 😆 I have also visited Alaska in the middle of winter. Crazy cold!! 🥶 Of course, there is no “perfect” place and every place has its own beauty.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. How lovely n deep conversations with the nature’s beauty either it’s a desert cactus or
    a green plant in a garden. When we see life’s angles through our heart it’s much more beautiful n meaningful especially when these wonderful words land on your page with your musical voice dear Michele. Wow I could keep writing non-stop reading your mesmarizing musings of nature my dear sweetest. It’s truly a great pleasure to read such profound thoughts as there’s so much to learn or take as a life’s lesson. It’s soooo sooo lovely ❤🥰🙏🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. 🥰 All living things are connected and the most memorable lessons are those we understand intuitively. 💚 💓 Suma, I so appreciate your loving words that are a warm embrace for my tumbling spirit and writer brain. Thank you. 🙏🏼 Best to you, always. 💐

      Like

  5. This is an example of why I love the quote, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Oh Michele, you narrated this conversation masterfully. This world is a mammoth planet and there are places we have never been, and will probably ever get to. When we look at others in different parts of the world, we look at the conditions they live in (the good and the challenging) and they do the best they can with what they have access to.

    Cacti is more fruitful than we can imagine, especially considering the conditions they were born in and grow in. Adaptability, but thriving. 🌵🌞🌵 You gave us food for thought this morning. It makes us stop, think and be grateful, even if the conditions within our environment aren’t as perfect as we would like for them to be. We make the best from what we have! Love this! 🥰 💖 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did think of that quote after writing this. Thank you, kind Kym, you are a master at seeing and eloquently describing the bigger picture. In this context, the world!

      There is always so much to learn from nature that is always perfect in its pristine state, even if not a perfect match for our natural states. 💚 I am very pleased that my piece is leading to discovery for you and possibly others. It certainly did that for me. 🥰 Enjoy your weekend and all that beauty that surrounds you, which is nothing compared to what is in you! 😊💐

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😭😭😭 Now see what you’ve gone and done? Started the waterworks of humility and compassion flowing from every tear duct in my eyes. 😉 I love your spirit and heart Michele, and you have no idea how much I appreciate you and adore your messages of hope and encouragement. Stories that you share make my day and lifts me up. ☝🏼

        With mutual admiration, I thank you my dear friend! 🤗 😇 😍

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh now, don’t go crying on me. You’ll make me cry too. 🤣 No really. This climate may have made me strong and resilient but my caring heart I’ve kept protected from its harsh days, and because of that it remains as expansive as the sun’s rays. 💗 OK, that may be a bit much! I need to bring it down a notch. I may have suffered from a mild heat stroke yesterday when I was communing with the lizards. 😂 Thank you, dear Kym, cherished writer dancing choo-chooing friend. 👭 Too fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Guuurrrrrrlllll, please…NO HEAT STROKES…no matter how mild. Honey, our temperature here is a scorcher, but it is nothing compared to the record high temps you guys are experiencing in your area. 🥵 I love your positive attitude Michele, even in the midst of this extreme heat wave. 💥 ☀️ 🔥

        Keep your H2O on hand at all times ladybug. 💧 💦 I just came from outside talking to my next-door neighbor, for about a minute, maybe two and I could feel the sweat cruising down the middle of my back! I was actually standing under my tree! 🌳

        Anywho Queen Positivity, I truly appreciate you and thank you for your humor, especially during a time when we want to holler in utter frustration! 🦋 ✨ 😜 Be safe out there, communing with your lizard friends! LOL 🤭

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It doesn’t take long to feel the effects, for our bodies to produce sweat. Thank goodness for that response, even if it leaves us a mess!

        Oh, I still holler, never in anger at another, but like a wild coyote howling at the moon! 🐺 🌑 🌵 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Mina. I appreciate your visit and your request, but I am not interested in another social media platform at this time. I wish you great success and will continue visiting your blog. Best to you! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Most welcome, Michele Lee.

        All what i need is only a support to download and paste the code, then you can remove the program, no need to follow.

        I would be grateful if you do so.

        Thank you

        Like

  6. Ah! That’s so very hot. Two weeks in a row. Wow. I love your post, Michele. It reminds me of moving to AZ from LA. I was confused for a little while, and then when we moved from AZ to OR, the confusion got worse; yet, I’ve learned, like you, that there is a reason for me being here. And, for me today, it lies in the expression of each moment. Wow, a powerful reflective post. Love it! Sending you coolness as I always do. 🥶🥶🥰❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is dangerously hot out there! We just hit three weeks at higher than 110. A dangerous record breaking trend. 😞 Thank you for sharing your own “misplaced” feelings. On some level, it may be part of the human experience, but we cannot deny when surroundings and situations make our soul feel most alive and connected, or at least we shouldn’t. Finding that through expression, moment by moment, as you described, is an inspiring, creative, and empowering way to live. ✨💖 Thank you! I gladly accept your cool thoughts. The freezer section of any grocery store is a wonderful respite. 😂 Pools are nice too, but sometimes it’s even too hot for them! Enjoy your weekend. 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🥵 Phew, that’s hot alright. You’re most welcome! Sending more coolness! 🥶 Hahaha. Ah, yes, I remember hanging out in the freezer section when I lived there; and yes, pools become ancillary at some point. Thank you! 🌞🥰

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful post, Michele. This is my favorite sentence: “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.” I was lucky enough to be born in the right setting to nurture me as well. The 10,000 lakes of Minnesota kept me cool and hydrated, ready to see the world. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca. I appreciate you mentioning your favorite sentence – that one made me laugh. There is probably no such thing as a “perfect” fit for anyone, but some might get very close to that. What a wonderful connection you made to my writing – I love learning that you feel nurtured by your environment. Sounds heavenly! Best to you! 💐

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I never know until after I write something if it should be read or not and sometimes I want my voice far removed from reader interpretation. Like the desert that wouldn’t leave me alone, this piece wouldn’t leave me alone either. I wanted to ignore it after audio difficulties persisted, but I listened and read into a less than desirable mic. So, thank you very much for mentioning that – it made my persistence worthwhile. Technology! 😠

      Yes it is stupid hot, and more of the same today. 🤪 Stay cool! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really enjoyed your post Michele! We have a symbiosis with the land we live on, be it desert or mountains forests. This piece would compress down into a wonderful poem! Just a thought! :>)
    Hot is the word…21+ days of 110 heat… I think I will stay here with my 90-95 degree days!
    Stay cool!
    Dwight

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dwight. I am glad you enjoyed my post. Even though I did not want to deal with sticky heat and would love to flee, I did enjoy taking photos in the quiet desert. Recent rains provided much needed water to the thirsty land and animals. You are right about our symbiotic relationship to nature – we are powerless to control hurricanes and other destructive forces, but our daily choices certainly influence natural environments. I am also concerned that young people do not spend time in nature like we did as children. Anyway, I love your compressed thought… I could write a few poems from this piece. 😆 Enjoy your cooler temps! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome Michele! Nature is a healing place for the mind and the body. Being in the middle of it all is something really special.
        As I read your piece certain sentences stuck out and I thought … what great lines these sentences would make in a poem… :>)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wholeheartedly agree with you about nature being healing – that is what makes summer in AZ so difficult for me. I need nature time, preferably without having a heat stroke. 🤪 Fall will be here soon! 🍂 Thank you for commenting about “great lines” – I may follow your suggestion and see what I can do with that idea. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your words, thank you Ingrid. I think my Friday time in the desert brought me a level of acceptance and yes, respect. I have learned many lessons from this place and going forward I would like very much to not be here during the summer months. 😁 I have encountered a few rattlesnakes through the years and staying calm is the best approach. Do I want to be on the ground looking directly into one’s eyes? Not so much! 😆 I have moved many times too, which surely contributes to my not having a sense of “home.” I think that too has offered many gifts and complements my adventurous spirit. I am sure you can relate. 😊 Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  9. I’ve enjoyed your poetic prose, sharing through your tumbleweed journey a desert song of rattling sounds, a rugged landscape, echoes of ancient voices and the thunder of monsoons. Amidst the relentless heat and prickly cacti, you are truly a vision of beauty, Michele. It’s also true, moving often over time as “travelers on this dusty road”, that ones sense of ‘home’ can seem fragmented. Yet, I’m certain that when you arrive, wherever it may be, your presence will surely serve to enrich both the space, and those within it. Peace, my dear friend. 🙏✌💓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phil, the thought you put into this comment is very evident and appreciated. 🙏🏼 You’re quite the writer! It is fun to see my words rearranged and my story summarized. Thank you so much. Your final sentiment is very gracious. 😊 Enjoy your week.🌄

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Looks like my first reply did not go through. 🤔
      Yes, it has been dangerously hot. 😞 Possible rain tomorrow. 🤞🏼
      Thank you for visiting and enjoying the audio. Greatly appreciated!
      Have a wonderful week, Belladonna. 💐

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yikes is right! 🤪 It is a bit cooler today… high of only 98. It’s cooling off! 😆
      Thank you so much, Diana.😊 My love of reading to a class started in first grade.💗
      You are a kind soul, enjoy. 💖🌞

      Like

  10. Michelle, the desert would not be my preferred home, I am more a mountains and waterfalls or beach enthusiast. I have visited deserts a few times. Once I saw the Arizona desert in bloom, and it was spectacular! I enjoyed hearing you read your reflections about the desert and seeing your lovely photos. Beautiful! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The desert is stunning in the spring, especially if there have been rains to pop the wildflowers. With such limited rainfall last year and early this year, the wildflowers did not make a showing. 😞 We have had a few decent monsoon storms, so hopefully next year we will see a return of diverse and colorful beauty. 🌵 I am with you, Cheryl, I love the green mountains and cool water. The beach is very nice too! 😁 I do have respect for the SW – the early inhabitants and the adaptable and resilient plants and animals, but the high temps are too much! Thank you so much for your visit and thoughtful comments. Enjoy your week! 🌻

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “I see now, through a dirty windshield, the lessons this land has offered me.”

    How delightful these lines are! I feel the lessons in the visuals of your writing and the earthly connection through ink to ground. Memory of the moonshining brown jug makes me smile too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your visit and for mentioning that line, Jaya. I love the image of that line and of course it can be interpreted a few ways. I know that you are deeply connected to your environment, so I love that you were able to read and comment on this piece. I am so grateful to this valley for its lessons and memories, especially those of playing in her dusty fields, but summer has always been a challenge for me, unless I was water skiing, then I was in heaven! 💖 That was my reward for sitting in a hot boring boat for hours and hours while my parents fished. I suppose that taught me patience! 😆 Enjoy your week!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Spirit of the Land – My Inspired Life

    1. Thanks a million, Tony. That poem took me on an interesting writing discovery. I love that about writing. It was a pesky one too, not leaving me alone until I read it, which was a challenge that day. I was having technical difficulties with my mic and Adobe Audition. You know what I am talking about spoken word poet. 😄👏🏼

      Like

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