Bitter Cold

I got up early to watch the sun rise from a small patch of Joshua Tree woodland habitat in the western Mojave.  I parked the car along a two lane road and ventured into the dark desert, chasing a rapidly setting moon to the west as the faint light of dawn crept up on me from the east.

The moon setting over the Mojave.

I walked for a few minutes and my hands were already numb from the cold wind.  All of the creosote bushes that combed the wind in the darkness came into view as the sun's light silhouetted the San Gabriel mountains.  From this patch of desert I could momentarily convince myself that I had found solitude, even though I was standing on an island of habitat slowly being engulfed by new housing tracts and shopping centers.  Two lanes become four, and stop signs become traffic signals.  Joshua trees become car dealerships and rabbitbrush become fast food restaurants.

Humans have always used and respected the desert's power, but now these beautiful wildlands are merely an obstacle to the growth of the human empire.  Like the stubbornness of the Sequoia trees harvested by ambitious timber companies, or the wild runs of the Colorado River confronted with hydro power dams.  Our objective now is to tame, develop, and destroy.  For progress, improvement, and to power our human lives with electricity, dirty and clean.  We are indeed exceptional; endowed with emotion and love. But over the course of recent history, we have shared only a meager sum of that compassion for our fellow creatures.

Minutes after losing the moon, the sun patiently cast its glow from the east.

But at least for a moment, the bitter cold and the company of the Joshua Trees praising the day's first light brought me peace. 


  1. Something for people in Las Vegas or Abq to be thankful of in the economic downturn! Maybe it will give more time to plan quality development for benefiting all socio-economic groups and the original life forms?


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