“For myself, I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. (Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!) –Edward Abbey, in Desert Solitaire (1968)
Gray, rainy Easter day here in the desert. I’m sitting in the front seat of a truck, pirating wireless Internet in Monticello—a little town about 45-minutes away from Indian Creek. The grocery store is shut. The one café in town in closed. Maybe life in the desert really is better than life in town, I’m thinking. At Bridger Jack, we don’t have showers, but at least we’ve got some good scenery and wide-open space.
It’s springtime in the high desert, and that means that things are sprouting. I love how this renewal of life corresponds with the Easter season—it makes sense how it works out like that, how a holiday celebrating rebirth, resurrection, and new life parallels these natural phenomena. I haven’t seen many bees buzzing about to pollinate things and there aren’t any baby lambs loping around, but humming birds whir overhead while I’m drinking morning coffee in my tent, and purple flowers blanket the meadows.
Life is abundant right now—in many ways. Long, painful days climbing. Tent-writing. Campfires and breakfast burritos. Wildflowers, and coyotes, and birds. But I must end, as I began, with Edward Abbey, who is the bona fide desert authority, lest you start thinking that it’s a tropical paradise out here. It isn’t:
“Despite the great variety of living things to be found here, most of the surface of the land, at least three-quarters of it, is sand or sandstone, naked, monolithic, austere and unadorned as the sculpture of the moon. It is undoubtedly a desert place, clean, pure, totally useless, quite unprofitable.”
—Desert Solitaire, of course, again.