Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer in the Desert

Visiting the desert in summer is often thought of as being condemned to hell: torrid temperatures, rocks that melt, no signs of life anywhere except for the human tourist wondering why s/he came to this place of torment.
Well, a little of that is true. It does get pretty hot out here, although the temperatures haven't been as high this year as they sometimes get. Also, here in the high desert, we tend to be about 10 degrees cooler than Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley.

Flowers are scarce, especially during this dry year we've had. Wildlife, even cold-blooded critters like lizards and snakes, stay in the shade or underground until it cools off. The greens, yellows, blues and other colors of spring are long gone. The annuals that produced the flowers are also dried up and blown away, leaving little/no evidence that they were ever there.

BUT -- for a desert lover like me, the "off-seasons" still draw me into places like Joshua Tree National Park. In early morning or late afternoon, lizards are darting under dormant shrubs or rough boulders. Ground squirrels brave the heat to do whatever it is ground squirrels do. Coyotes trot along, looking for a tasty goodie.

And for me, brown and blue is my favorite color combination. I'm sure that's part of the reason why I love deserts. And let's face it: this time of year, my colors dominate.

The heat and the occasional monsoonal humidity does get to me. But the desert keeps the rare beauty that only deserts possess.

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