1.08.2009,9:12 PM
Pony in the Desert

On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things

There was sand and hills and rings

The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz

And the sky with no clouds

The heat was hot and the ground was dry

But the air was full of sound.
My first introduction to the American southwest desert was when I hitchhiked to Tuscon, Arizona, many years ago. A new song on the radio followed me there and kept me company during my too-short visit in the Arizona deserts and mountains. A desert song: A Horse With No Name by the band America. Serendipity? Karma? Who knows. But it was then that I was captured by the desert; it's life, solitude, starkness and beauty.

A recent rain in the Tuscon area pushed the desert plants in bloom the day after I arrived. I still remember the kaleidoscope of colors, a perceived barren place suddenly a madhouse of life and activity as plants, animals, reptiles and insects rushed to propagate and race through their life cycles before dryness forced them back into dormancy; a process I have not seen since then.

But I still hum that song.
After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red

After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead.
Extremes are the law in the desert. A scorching bright dusty day can suddenly be quenched by torrential rain and flash floods, then cooled to freezing in the blackest night. Life does not survive unless it can compete for food and water, and escape its predators. It can bring out the best and worst of any human.
After nine days I let the horse run free
'Cause the desert had turned to sea

There were plants and birds and rocks and things

There was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with its life underground

And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love.
Shortly after I returned from the desert I turned my back on the cities and headed into the deep woods of Maine. I did not return to a city for almost thirty years. Now it's time to go back to the desert; it never left me. My place is sleeping under the blanket of twinkling stars, hiking and riding my pony in the desert, singing with the coyotes, and I don't even need a name.
I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name

'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain.


posted by Macrobe
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