What grows in the desert – Part I, Trees

“Of all the things I wondered about on this land, I wondered the hardest about the seduction of certain geographies that feel like home — not by story or blood but merely by their forms and colors. How our perceptions are our only internal map of the world, how there are places that claim you and places that warn you away. How you can fall in love with the light.”
Ellen Meloy, The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky

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And trees are made of light. Great gatherers of sun and providers of life: their presence in the desert fills me with gratitude. Forests are few where sandstone prevails. The trees here are an expression of a miracle of adaptation. In fact, here in the West where the people grasp at the myth of rugged individualism, these trees persist with grace and gnarl on only a few scant inches of rain a year. In sand and in stone roots anchor and seek sustenance, crowns shade passersby and offer hope of survival to the moving critters. Yes, it is gratitude I feel upon seeing a tree in the desert. Thank you for the shade, the place to nap, and the green to contrast the red rocks.