~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Friday, December 30, 2011

Warm Winter's Light

Sunshine and warmth in winter.
How truly wonderful this alternate environment is.
Delicious in its tastes of sun-tea, 
brown-sugar soil, 
blue-corn skies 
and rays of golden sun warming my exposed toes.
I love not wearing any shoes ... 
this is the place to do it nearly year-round!

The concrete walls surround me in the back yard, 
as they delineate yards everywhere,
yet I see the open sky, 
hear the birds, 
watch the mesquite that hangs 
gently moving over our border, 
a bee hurries by intently, 
and I adjust to the beautiful starkness here 
so different from our former home in Maine--
surroundings even in dramatic contrast 
to the vegetation and landscape of nearby Tucson.

When walking down the long paved road yesterday with the dogs, 
who trotted along on their short legs 
sniffing the air and watching everything in rapt fascination, 
I recalled words spoken before we moved here-- 
saying how I liked Nature to be all around on my walks, 
and then arriving to realize the seeming emptiness 
of this location divested of the abundance of Nature. 
Yet not really. The dogs know more...
What is "nature" after all? 
I see it/Her all around when my eyes were opened 
from within outward, 
the thin grasses, 
the stubborn mesquite, 
the resilient birds who sing in joy even here, 
the glimpse of the huge black-tail Jack, 
an occasional almost-spectral coyote crossing a road, 
and so much more spread out before me, 
stretching so very, very far 
without confinement of barrier tree lines 
or constantly rolling hills. 
Gravel and sand, minerals claiming their right to be here 
reflecting back the miners' supposed claims upon them. 
Always slightly squinting against sun glare 
in spite of dark spectacles, 
the tension of skin reacting with arid space,  
creating creases near the eyes more rapidly than in 
dimmer lit environs settled in mists and clouds and shadows 
more often than not. 
Nature is all around me here, 
She simply wears fewer decorations, 
less clothes upon Her gorgeous tanned body. 
I join Her in the delight of near-eternal sunbathing,
drenching my essence with light during the day. 

Yet at night, pull blankets overhead, 
snuggle into cocoons of warmth because 
as soon as the sun drops over the horizon and 
we tilt away from its glow...brrr... 
a match dropped down a deep well. 

I still marvel at the contrasts--
is it any wonder that I am like a kid in front of  candy store 
eagerly waiting for the door to open in the morning 
so that I can go satisfy my taste for that sweet sunlight? 
I step outside instead of inside. 
Out into a world of brightness and subtle gifts 
where nothing is ever taken for granted by 
Her indigenous people or the native beings who 
crawl, walk, hop, fly and grow. 

As I continue settling into the experience of 
living in this gorgeous-ugliness of desert survival--
over-grazed, over-farmed, abandoned when depleted 
of its meager precious topsoil by those who were greedy and oblivious--
accepting what is,
I smile more, 
I admire more,
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to explore 
an exposed world along with my now-revealing-themselves 
depths previously unknown. 
There is an exquisite aura of vulnerability 
here where nothing is hidden. 


  1. Beautiful Darla :) It was if I was there.

  2. Fewer decorations. You still praise Nature eloquently here, stepping outside your heart to show us what's inside.

  3. Darla ~ I had to smile when you wrote "settling into the experiences of living this gorgeous-ugliness..." You are brave for sure. I don't think that my spirit could thrive living in this kind of environment. But I admire that you are looking at it as an opportunity to explore and find the beauty in the desert, learning to see with new eyes, connecting with Nature in different ways. Such a practice in just being with what is, just being present to it... Beautiful :) Christine

  4. Shivering in icy weather and suddenly your desert sounds most alluring!

    The Happiest of New Years to you, Darla!

  5. Barefoot? Aha, I see you're from Maine, a much colder climate. Being from Los Angeles, Tucson winters feel cold to me, and two pairs of socks are needed to keep my feet warm.

    Sounds like you're adjusting very well and quickly. It took me at least seven years to get used to the starkness of the desert landscape and begin to see the beauty of it.

  6. This is very well-written, Darla---a lovely meditation on finding blessings and beauty wherever you are. Thank you.

  7. Thank you, dear ones! (((BIGHUGS))) all around. :-)

  8. Diane, yes I do like to be barefoot outside in the sun, although I do need a pair of socks in the house now that winter has arrived and the floors are a bit cool. :-) But you will be happy to know that I must have on layers of tops and often a scarf in order to stay warm! LOL But you need TWO pairs of socks?! Oh my...


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