My desert muses are made of salt

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

 

My beloved Valley of the Sun has come to that point where the air wears its heat for the whole entire day.

I came to live here in the evening of July 26th, 1979. Eager excitement on my young face as a move to America had some promise of things that were greater. The kind stewardess, as they were called then, let my brother and I wait by the airplane door, a gentle smile on her face in reaction to our eagerness. The door opened with a swoosh and the heat slammed into our faces with a force we had never before experienced. My bother and I looked at each other,  disbelief or horror at what we had just experienced.  It was like America had greeted us with a slap to the face, one that was hard enough to leave a red mark.

While I had been to this desert before, it had never greeted me like that.

Over time the desert and I became fast friends. We share a deep loyalty and I have come to understand that harsh sting of a midnight heat. The desert, she is showing us her love.

in the time before the weeks settle into a strong  constant state of being over 100 degrees Fahrenheit  (over 38 C), I take the time to notice the subtle shifts in heat. Especially at night, there is a coolness to the caress that feels like a the touch of an adolescent trying to figure out the rules to touching someone they like, it switches between a gentle warmth, a cool waft, and the promise of a dangerous heat… all caressing my skin as we walk at night.

The shift happens, the move from the tender, emotionally mixed, adolescent explorations to a full on seduction, rather quickly.  The first night that I experience it, that change… I arrive home exhausted; like I got that slap on my face and tried to fight back.  I have to remember to give in to it, to give up those temperatures that are like youthful groping and allow the heat to do what she does.

Once I can give in to the heat, the definitive warmth at night becomes like a gentle caress, it glides across the skin and feels like a cross between a lovers touch and a mothers caress. It has a certain feminine fierceness. Once I can give in to that, I can survive this heat.

There is also a sound to the desert during this time,  the heat, it has her own sultry voice. She talks to those she loves. It takes more than giving in to hear her talk.

When you can hear these desert sounds; her voice, it has a sense of the divine.

But the desert is not for everyone. She either loves you or hates you.

“I shivered in those
solitudes
when I heard
the voice
of
the salt
in the desert.” 
~ Pablo Neruda

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