I drove out to the desert to meet the boys camping. It was dark when I arrived. I had no idea where I was really. I just knew that I was only forty-five minutes from our home.
I wasn't expecting much.
When I woke up in the morning, I was mistaken. Instead I was greeted by beautiful Cholla cacti glowing in the morning sun.
I could have swore that someone plugged them in and turned them on. They seemed truly magical.
Then as I continued to look around, my eyes grew wide as I saw what draws so many people to this place. Rising up from the desert floor with nothing around for miles was something that was so majestic, yet so mysterious.
Years ago (and maybe still today) people believed there was buried treasure here. A private fortune that has never been found.
They named it Superstition Mountain.
I watched it as we ate breakfast. The mountain-like butte changed its face as the sun moved across the sky never looking the same from one moment to the next.
After breakfast, we went on a walk to explore the desert.
We hadn't gone very far when I looked around and noticed there were no clues to how to return to camp.
It was as if we traveled to a different place. Without the butte appearing between openings in the desert floor, I could see getting lost out here.
Lost in direction... Lost in time...
Lost in a place that was not friendly... nor forgiving.
In the desert, there are many signs of struggle and pain.
As I walked on, it became clear that without knowledge and foresight, the innocent are not safe here.
For example, a young bird, who was likely just looking for a place to rest his wings, decided to land on the arm of this Cholla cactus. Only to be instantly pinned - unable to get away - and left to die a slow death.
While the thought of this bird's demise was very sad, I also found it profound.
You see amongst all of the harsh realities, there was beauty.
Sculptures stood tall in all directions.
Designed by God. Illustrated by nature.
Even in the deep wounds of a Saguaro cactus, there was beauty.
A rough, forsaken beauty.
Reminding us that time can heal... or perhaps that suffering can lead to wisdom.
I also saw that, although the canvas began as a non-descriptive beige, the desert was full of color.
Glances of distinct and vibrant colors were speckled here and there. The contrast was remarkable.
I wondered before moving here if I would find the desert interesting. I know now that that I have only touched its surface.
I can't wait to explore it more.