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Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 41

Washes. My favorite places to wander in. Interesting artifacts can be found there, especially after a rain. Old tortoise shells. Pottery shards. Remnants of animal bones. And, if you are lucky, hints of gold.  Then, you have the treat of rock sculptures from eons of extreme weather chiseling away the patina of the boulders. Or find metate-like dimples from years of grinding acorns on flatter parts of the granite surfaces. I try to imagine the activity at those locations - which are scattered around the park - almost always near a source of scrub oaks by a wash that could have supplied more constant water way back then. What kinds of things would the women be discussing as they ground away to make flour for their meals? The quiet is calming. Smaller animals skitter from creosote to juniper to cats claw. The tracks they leave are interesting patterns to peruse along the trail. The air is heavy with the scent of sage and creosote and juniper...even more so after a rain. When it has been super dry, as it has been of late, cup your hands gently around a leafed branch. Huff your breath on the leaves and take a whiff. Mmmmm. We have lots of varieties of smells to tickle your nose (if your allergies can handle it....).  Many types of sage. Desert lavender. Cheese bush. (Yes. It smells like cheese!) And the ever cleansing, pungent, signature smell of the many purposed creosote bush. The wonder plant of the desert. Did you know their life span can be up to 100 years or more? There is one estimated to be 12,000 years old! If they could tell stories.... 

Hopefully, tomorrow, my energy level is back up from this bloody flu to at least enjoy a few miles, out of the winds, seeking the scented warmth of the desert....

©Diana Shay Diehl / JTNP

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