The Beckoning Desert

Over the last few days I’ve spent hour after hour sitting at my desk staring at the computer while processing images for my redesigned website.  My new gallery structure consists of four portfolios: New Images, Adventure, Desert and Mountains.  As I worked through hundreds of images one thing became abundantly clear: I am a desert rat.

I was born in Los Angeles, where I lived for the first six years of my life.  After that we moved to Phoenix for a year, then Atlanta for six years, then back to Phoenix.  The day after high school graduation my Mom and brother moved back to Georgia.  I stayed in the desert.  I spent eighteen years in Phoenix, and I still consider it home.  In 2002 I decided it was time for a change and I moved to Denver.  Rocky Mountains, here I come!  No more oppressive heat, thorns in my mountain bike tires or rattlesnakes at my feet.  That lasted three years.

What happened next was kind of a whirlwind.  I got laid off from a job I’d held for 13 years, got married, took a 4 month road trip throughout the West and finally settled in Moab.  Another desert.  A high desert, but a desert just the same.  We’ve been here four years this month.

Clearly, I’m drawn to the desert.  Wide open spaces, hundred mile views, deep blue skies, cactus and canyons and coyotes – they’re all here.  Not to mention monumental sunsets, wildflowers eking out a brief but glorious existence from the scorched earth, sand in my ears, sun on my back and those moments of pure serendipity when I stumble upon a ruin left behind by the ODR’s - Original Desert Rats.

I suspect I’ll always run to the mountains when I can no longer bear the summer heat.  Chances are I’ll even move away from the desert, most likely back into the Rockies.  There I’ll dream of the desert while napping next to an alpine lake.  Mid-winter, when the snow is flying and the temperatures are diving, I’ll escape to warmer climes.  Back to the cactus.  Back to the sunsets.  Back to the desert.

7 thoughts on “The Beckoning Desert”

  1. Bret, I know what you are feeling. The rhythm of life in the desert and in the mountains keeps calling you back. We spend time in Tucson as snowbirds from Denver.

    In recent years we have found the enchantment of New Mexico calling us. It also has the appealing rhythm of life in the desert and the mountains. It seems like the sky is bigger and more colorful and life is less complex there.

    However, I am one with the universe when I am in or near to the ocean in SoCal. Sometimes I think that during the process of evolution my genes evolved from the briny deep. Give me those board shorts and flip flops.

    Bill Brennan

    1. Thanks for commenting, Bill. I have friends who are home in the mountains, others who prefer the ocean and still others who would rather be surrounded by buildings and concrete. I feel sorry for them. But, we are all individuals and it is this diversity that keeps things interesting.

  2. I too love the desert. I had never seen it until visiting briefly in 2004 and then moved to Phoenix as well shortly thereafter. However quite a few things brought me up to Jackson Hole after 4 years there. I definitely still love making road trips down to the desert, but I can’t resist enormous mountains out my door! But like I said, the first place on my list for road trips is the desert in southern Utah.

    1. Hey Mike…we’ll be up there in 3 days! If I could, I’d live in the mountains during the summer and the desert in the winter – get the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, that isn’t realistic for us. But, I can certainly understand how the Tetons call to you. They are so big, so rugged, and so over the top that I just can’t imagine not being attracted to them.

  3. Hey Bret, you’ve really got to stop reading my mind. I’ve lived in the Denver area since 1972 and dearly love the Rocky Mountains. But as I get older the cold weather irritates me more and more and if I never had to lift another shovel of snow I’d be happy. My oldest daugher and her family live in Phoenix and I visit there as often as possible….in the winter months. But the lure of the desert is very strong when snow is flying here. As retirement approaches (sometime in the next decade) I’m starting to understand the snowbird mindset. If only Moab was a bit warmer in the winter…….

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