THE DESERT IS A DRY, BAKED, ARID PLACE. It’s desolate and deserted; that’s how it got its name. Yet there is a lot going on there. Many creatures are born and die there, the fauna of the desert, tiny burrowers like the kangaroo rat and predator reptiles like the rattlesnake. The flora may not resemble a rainforest, or even your back yard, but it is alive there, the kind that stores water like the saguaro cactus; sage brush; desert holly, which must be handled with care lest its sharp needle-edged leaves cut you up and, as I discovered, it hurts for awhile afterward. The sparseness of vegetation and water makes it difficult for the earth to absorb solar radiation, so the ground can’t conserve heat at night, causing significant decreases in temperature during nighttime hours. The few humans who are attracted to the desert can be as ornery and inhospitable as the desert itself. They don’t require the common creature comforts available in the city, the convenience stores and the concrete, the constant pressure and expense of accumulation, the cable TV. But the desert has its wonders, and wandering around in it can provide a kind of lonely peace and self-satisfaction available nowhere else.
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Ostomy Memories of the Desert
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