Desert gleanings

We are fortunate to live in San Diego and to have beautiful camping parks along the ocean bluffs, mountains and in the desert, all within a two hour drive.  Our nearby desert typically has mild weather during the winter and we love to camp there where we can enjoy quiet and beautiful vista views, sunrises, birds chirping, flowers, hiking, cooking, eating, stargazing, and contemplating the universe.

DSC_0164 Desertscape 11:18:10

Marshal South, poet, artist, and author, wrote:

The Desert! Either you will love it or you will hate it. If you hate it you will fly from it and never wish to see its face again. If you love it, it will hold you and draw you as will no other land on earth.1

Larry especially likes to rise early to see the beautiful sunrises, while enjoying a cup of coffee and watching and listening to the dawn chorus* of birds gathering by our feeders.

DSC_0153 Desert sunrise 11:18:10

Cynthia Rich, author, spiritual care counselor, writer of Dharma Gleanings blog, and meditation practitioner, lived six years in this desert with her domestic partner, Barbara Macdonald, and wrote:

Driving home after our summer in San Diego, I felt pulled as usual into the life of the desert, the reddish boulders and grey-green agave and tall grey stalks of ocotillo that no longer look austere to me even in our driest season… For the first time in my life I feel my roots and they know their depth… These years on the desert have taught me: all other roots, however cherished, are metaphors for this deepest connection, to the natural world, the nourishing ground of our being.2

We also find the desert to be nourishing and enjoy the rainbow connection.*

DSC_0250 Desert rainbow 2:6:09

After a rainfall, deserts have a delightful aromatic smell and flowers bloom, such as this Ghost Flower.

DSC_0151 Ghost Flower 2:2:11

Rain brings joy and happiness to the desert oasis.

DSC_0165 Desert oasis 1:2:09

Thich Nhat Hanh,* author and well-known Zen Buddhist teacher, wrote in his latest book, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering:

We can experience both joy and happiness… The method here is simple. Breathing in, bring your mind home to your body. Establish yourself in the here and the now and recognize what is around you. Then joy and happiness arise easily, from your recognition of all the positive elements available right now.3

Rain brings new growth to plants providing nourishment for the bighorn sheep here.

DSC_0163 Bighorn sheep 1:5:11

At the end of the day, we often enjoy a spectacular moonrise and a sky filled with moving stars.*

DSC_0010 Desert moonrise 1:5:15

DSC_0094 Desert night sky 12:10:12

1. This is the quote on the page after the title page of Marshal South and the Ghost Mountain Chronicles: An Experiment in Primitive Living, Edited and with a Foreword by Diana Lindsay and Introduction by Rider and Lucile South, Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, CA., 2005

2. Desert Years: Undreaming The American Dream, Cynthia Rich, Spinsters/Aunt Lute Book Company, San Francisco, California, 1989, pages 108 and 110.

3. No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, Thich Nhat Hanh, Parallax Press, Berkeley, California, 2014, page 56.

*This is a link to a YouTube video.


About Bill D.

Bill is a retired RN who has enjoyed working as a docent in a well-known historic house museum, and now is a proud volunteer in San Diego's newest state-of-the-art hospital, Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center. He enjoys reading, writing, and meditating, especially about mindfulness as discussed by Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh. (Photo credit: Jokie Tolentino)
This entry was posted in Deserts, Flowers, Meditations, Night photos, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Desert gleanings

  1. drvpdemo says:

    The new blog looks great Bill! And the photography is fantastic! Nice job.


  2. Linda says:

    Hello Bill-I’m enjoying your timeless desert photos-thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories.


  3. Can’t tell you how envious I am! Those are some wonderful shots too.


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