Through a series of unfortunate events, I got the chance recently to spend the night camping in the desert (which in and of itself was not unfortunate at all). My soul is two parts mountains and one part desert, and it turns out that it's impossible for me to spend time in either place without waxing ponderous. The stars are one of the best parts about the desert. I remember seeing the Milky Way from my house, but now I'm lucky to see anything more than a few major constellations. Spending time in the desert makes me feel so small and so big, and helps me readjust to my place in this crazy big world. It feels familiar and like home to me and certainly alters my perspective for the better.
Then, there is just something about the desert that shouts life. While I took my sunrise hike alone I stumbled across a raven nest, a stinkbug digging a hole in the sand, and a cottontail rabbit that I nearly stepped on (sorry for the heart attack, little guy!), all in just a few short minutes. My grandparents were desert downwinders who picnicked with their neighbors while watching the atomic bombs exploding in the distance. It's always amazed me that nuclear testing happened in the deserts where people thought there weren't any living things. There is so much life in the deserts, and some of the best, hardiest kind at that.
I love the deserts and the lessons they teach of resilience, patience, and the ability to thrive. Deserts hold a wonder all their own.