DESERT STORIES

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“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”


Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey, 1968.




In Death Valley

There came gray stretches of volcanic plains,  
Bare, lone and treeless, then a bleak lone hill
Like to the dolorous hill that Dobell saw.  
Around were heaps of ruins piled between  
The Burn o’ Sorrow and the Water o’ Care;  
And from the stillness of the down-crushed walls
One pillar rose up dark against the moon.  
There was a nameless Presence everywhere;  
In the gray soil there was a purple stain,  
And the gray reticent rocks were dyed with blood—
Blood of a vast unknown Calamity.           
It was the mark of some ancestral grief—
Grief that began before the ancient Flood. 

Edwin Markham, 1921.