Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Miss the Desert

It's been about one and a half years since my first and only trip into the desert, and I suddenly find myself with a strong craving to be back in it again.

There's something wild about the vastness of the desert. Like the Ocean, but even more savage. The ocean is full of life, but the desert is mostly sterile. "Clean" was how they put it in Lawrence of Arabia.

When most people say "nature," it seems like they usually mean "anywhere without people." In that case the desert is as natural as you can get. Most of nature seems so fragile. But when you're in the desert, you get the feeling that this is nature you couldn't do anything to change if you tried. The only thing that changes in the desert is you.

I guess that's what I like about it.

It's hard, and it makes you reevaluate your priorities. Here in my normal life I get so preoccupied with such little things. I worry about things like scratches and zits, what every little dietary and lifestyle choice I make will have on my long-term health and wellness, and how to best avoid socially awkward situations. And I drive myself crazy over those things.

When you're in the desert, all those things seem really far away and insignificant. That's because much more straight-forward things like having enough water and getting the car unstuck are suddenly matters of life and death. And ultimately, I feel like those are much more fulfilling and strangely less stressful concerns. It makes you realize what's really important. It makes you hard.

I guess this was all brought on by some questions a friend from church asked me after the service Sunday. He's considering moving to Jordan for work asked me what it's like. I hadn't seriously thought about the desert in awhile, but as I was trying to describe it to him, it all came back.

Then I watched a No Reservations episode where Tony was in Egypt in the desert. Something about the post-ironically contemplative montage of him sitting on a rocky outcropping staring across a vast expanse of sand tinted purple by the sinking sun really hit it home for me.

I want to go back to the desert.

It doesn't have to be the Middle-Eastern desert. Just about any desert would do. It's a shame there aren't any close by. But then maybe that's part of the attraction too.

Road trip, anyone?

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