Saltation

Thin clouds of purest white streaked through the crystalline sky miles above the dune as it glistened and glittered in the morning’s golden sunlight. The ever-present wind swirled down out of its invisibility above grazing the crests of each swell placing a yellow halo at the crown of each and every rise. Soon, these phenomena broadened and covered everything leeward. Never just one grain but nearly an infinite amount of particles bouncing and flying over the top. The sandscape vibrating and flirting with focus and vision. Wave after wave, all as if it were applauding itself, this audience of at least trillions upon trillions upon trillions of its own. This is the way sand dunes travel and comfort themselves.

There is no apparent grand purpose other than subtle providence, yet, that is grand in itself.

After all the commotion, Bug, the darkling beetle, emerged from its hiding place an inch below the surface. Rat, arrived first, however, and it ate Bug. Then Hawk swirled down out of its invisibility high above in the crystal sky and snatched Rat with bloody talons.

Rat knew he had come to his end, for all rats die as does everything else that lives. Rat was pleased that it was Hawk that would consume him. Coyote or Snake would not honor him with such an aerial showing of the vast world he lived in before he was killed.

END
w.feller

END
w.feller

Thin Window

Lucerne Valley cabin

Through the thin window, I watch the torn-away sky
clouds shredded and stolen as sharpened winds howl by

Spinning wildflowers and tumbling weeds
frantically, frantically spreading their seeds

Two birds in a bush warbling in trills and quavers
it is the lopsided melody the garbled song favors

Trade rats somersaulting across the bare ground
cartwheeling badgers angrily claw as they wheel round and round

Stiff-legged coyotes hobnobbing in play
catching jackrabbits and cottontails that can only jump up, not away

and dust swirls into dust devils then dispersed above
All of this, all of this, lonely, barren, wind-scarred, and loved.

The Natural History of a Raindrop

They were twins, airborne, spiraling to earth together. Brothers as brothers can be they remained brothers until they splashed on the divide together and one rolled to the desert and one, the larger of the two, rolled toward the sea. That large raindrop would do fine, however, the small one would have to find its own ocean. Until then the little raindrop did what most other raindrops do and that is to go down.

At this point, many raindrops would soak into the earth joining the stormwater underground. These rainshadow renegades would travel to the aquifers deep into the earth below to ancient, private, and murky waters.

From sticks and dead leaves and rocks and out of crevices other little raindrops dripped to trickle together in intricate alpine streams hastily making way through a myriad of delicate and fragile waterfalls, into pools, then resting a few moments before being pushed out by the increasing deluge behind them.

From these streams to creeks the raindrops gathered rushing rather blindly through boulders and fallen trees in the narrow canyon joined by other smaller canyons and joining itself to larger creeks coming from larger canyons until swirling and twisting, colored with mud and dirty foam, all of a sudden coming together to become a river.

“Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,” thought the little raindrop. It had found its way–to a river that should by all accounts transport it to the sea.

That didn’t happen, though. The river fell into the quicksands and disappeared into an eerie underworld layered below the clouded skies, under the sands of the empty river, and above the dark and mysterious aquifer.

Later, there was the bright and sunny sky overhead when the raindrop, risking evaporation, surfaced for a breath then soaked back into the safety of the shallows.

Again and one more time again this happened. Finally, there is no finally. The little raindrop simply never came back. After all, it was just a raindrop…

The end.

Rainbows Timeless

Ancient rainbows

I like to watch the very end of the day–the last slivers of light seen while everyone has gone home to have their dinner and watch the television. Those last shreds of light must be mine, at least as far as my eyes can see. I see how lovely this light is, nearly, nearly an invisible veil as shear as color. There are final bits of sunlight delicately pulled away from jagged edges in order to begin the evening properly. And here, especially where rainbows once beautiful and bold, now faded and wicked, tear the low light trying to hold on to the day, these olden days past . . .

Rainbow Basin

New Beauty

Someday, I imagine, all beautiful things will have been worn away and become mundane and undesirable to view. Then, I imagine all the ugly things will become unique and beautiful because they are different and exciting to look at. I imagine.

Hear the Wind

Coyote Lake

Mike was alone now. It was just him and the wind in the desert. He wasn’t scared. He would listen to Nature. It would speak to him–tell him what he needed to do. In fact, the wind was trying to touch base with Mike at that very moment. It was saying, “Hey Mike? Mike? Can you hear me, Mike? Mike?” Mike, however, was preoccupied with trying to get a signal. Without water or shelter, Mike was a goner. Too bad for Mike.

River’s End

It is the strangest thing; the river; I follow it downstream and it becomes smaller and smaller and smaller. With every step, it becomes less and less and less. The water diminishes and depletes until it is just a trickle, until a glisten, until just a wet spot surrounded by damp sand, and then nothing. That is how this river ends–not mightily at an ocean, but quietly, subdued in the sand and rubble and stone becoming as if it never were.

Mojave River
https://digital-desert.com/mojave-river/

Broken Lands

Amargosa River at China Ranch

There is a broken land where mountain ranges rise like angry tidal waves in turbulent, slow-motion seas, senselessly wrestling in convection.

Occasionally, countless battalions of clouds march briskly left to right without leaving a drop of water, all saved for a brutal assault in a faraway war.

Broken people–adapt or die–that is all that can be said.

Broken animals and plants living in arrhythmic symbiosis.

and above; thrown into the wind, birds fly incorrectly and confused
then tumble from the sky in mid-breath.

tiny fish in the broken river’s warm water quietly dance an intricately choreographed ballet.

Trees are not trees, . . .
and the rabbit is not in charge as he would have you believe.
remember that.

Bragging coyotes arrogantly squawk after a kill

How Survival Looks

I believe it misleading when looking out over the broad plains and shallow valleys; that it appears nearly lifeless. This, however, is how survival looks. A lot is going on out there; birds, lizards, rats, rabbits, and snakes. It depends on the season. Some varmints only come out at night. All come out to eat–some to be eaten. The tussles and killings are kept discrete and as quiet as possible so as not to disturb the next meal, now searching for its food in the crevices between the rocks and hollows of the cactus plants. Every single thing dies. Out there, every single thing dies bravely, without fear–we imagine.

Kelso Wash
https://digital-desert.com/ecosections/322ai.htm
Mojave National Preserve

Enrico Caruso Island

This is Lake Tuendae (to be beheld) at the Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx. In the center of the lake is an island with a fountain. The name of the island in Enrico Caruso Island.

Enrico Caruso Island is named Enrico Caruso Island in honor of Enrico Caruso but not Enrico Caruso the famous singer but the Enrico Caruso who built Enrico Caruso Island was named for the legendary Enrico Caruso and named it Enrico Caruso Island for himself.

Enrico Caruso

Early One Morning

Hidden Valley

Very early one morning in Joshua Tree National Park . . .

It was, of course, quiet. It was, of course, dark. It was also a little bit chilly, and after a moment it was a moment before dawn.

Midnight blue to dark blue to blue and sky blue.

Clouds in waves of deep red, red, orange, yellow, and ultimately white.

Everything collected the light, saving it, glowing with it. Warming.

The night was over. The day had begun.

Joshua Tree National Park . . .

Desert Sea

– I went to throw myself into the desert sea; to find isolation and solitude between the swells of the earth waves and shifting light.  Day to night, and night, and night and in the echo of the evening, the storm calmed and the ocean went flat.  At critical mass, the moon shifted the tide and the underpinnings, the secret work in preparation for the next day had begun.

El Paso Mountains
El Paso Mountains

The Playas

Playas, dry lakes, they hypnotize me. Flat and dry and scarred but still pure. Hardened earth and soft skies. An elegant monotony that locks in on whatever lobe in my brain it is that controls my fascination for seeking a niche, an edge, a flaw as my eye draws up to, in this specific case, a dark and slivered horizon. Few words. Clear and open thought. Appreciation. I clap my hands. The sound dissipates and the ever so slight vibrations go on endlessly.

Dry Lakes of the Mojave

Superior Dry Lake