Morning in a Desert Suburbia

If you've ever lived in a desert this is familiar to you. It's been cold all night. But the sun is just coming up and while it's still chilly the hot part of the day is coming fast. The birds aren't fooled; it's not winter, it's just morning. They are singing as they have always done.

My own footsteps are a measured and constant rhythm. I have a secret: keep your stride no matter what. Don't go faster when it's easy and don't go slower when it's hard.

This valley has been civilized for around two hundred years. Our ancestors planted farms in the alkaline soil and grew a city. The air and sky still respond as they always have, freezing cold at night, bare and hot during the day. It's no surprise that solar energy is doing well here; a lot of roofs have black panels glinting in the morning light, starting their passive work like less efficient leaves.

step, step, step, step,

It was a long winter, a cold winter, barren and lonely. The coming spring holds promise.

Nearby two men are talking, in that quiet voice that all people use when it's still early. I can't see them, their voices are a blue-gray smoke wafting unintelligibly to me on the breeze.

My face and hands are cold, but everything under my jacket is too hot. Soon it'll be time to shed the jacket and either retreat inside or find a way to endure the heat.

A single prop airplane pulls itself through the sky overhead, engine grumbling loudly for a long time, making very little headway for all that noise. Dogs bark everywhere. They've walked at our side for centuries uncounted, from caves to solar panels, and their reactions to the coming morning are integral to our experience and just as valid as ours.

Almost home now. I've intentionally made myself wait for breakfast, my hunger a comfortable ache like exercise. the muscle I'm using is called “self-control” and it needs some toning up.

Edward Abbey wrote Desert Solitaire decades ago in a desert far south of here. I've slept in those deserts, under those stars, deep in that canyon when the festivals were under way. For now the best I can claim is a Suburban Solitaire, and only for an hour, but it's enough, it's enough.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.

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