Life in the Desert

Sarah Bessey, one of my favorite bloggers, is hosting a synchroblog right now on What is saving your life right now? I jump at the chance to part of her beautiful community, so here dives my voice into the pool...

                                Home, means Nevada,
                                Home, means the hills,
                                Home, means the sage and the pine.
                                Out by the Truckee's silvery rills,
                                Out where the sun always shines,
                                There is the land that I love the best,
                                Fairer than all I can see.
                                Right in the heart of the golden west
                                Home, means Nevada to me.

                                                        -Chorus to "Home Means Nevada," our state song

The desert is breathing life into me, saving my life in ways unimagined. I'm reading Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins, a phenomenal collection of short stories set in Nevada. I read its stories, and they read like old nightmarish lullabies. Familiar and soothing and unsettling all at once. That barren land, open and wild -- that place I now call home. It is beautiful. It is salvation.

Each speck of life thriving against the inhospitable terrain seems more vibrant for the struggle. Wildflowers sprout from rocks; purple blooms face the blinding sun, determined to survive. The wind sweeps loudly through the trees; scrapes sagebrush down the wide roads and rocky gulleys for the sake of noise. The night creatures howl and cry out in the moonlight: we have lived through the day, we are still here, we are alive, alive, alive.

Yes, we are. Alive.

I write story after story, each journeying deeper into the heart of the desert. Each exploring what it means to call this place home. Each revealing something new in how the land has touched my soul. It is rugged, savage, unforgiving. It is vast, quiet, majestic. It is my home, our home. It is saving my life. Yes, it is.