I’ve tolerated the desert cold in winter, the summer heat, the constant wind and ever-present dust. It’s been harsh at times but it’s also taught me to appreciate the incredible fragile beauty of these harsh landscapes.
I used to call the Mojave Desert a lunar landscape…until I visited the Arabian Desert. Traveling across Oman’s Empty Quarter I learned very quickly what a true lunar landscape is…a flat gravel plain with absolutely no plants…not one, not even weeds for hundreds of miles. Occasionally a sand dune will break the flat horizon or a truck, miles away, shimmering in the heat.
The Mojave desert although harsh and filled with volcanic rock and desert dunes has more vegetation and variety of scenery. In the spring the hills are covered in green and wildflowers, including the spectacular state flower, the California Poppy.
For me, the queen of the deserts is the Sonoran. Two days before the Super Bowl, I was in Tucson, Arizona, deep in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. The skies darkened and dumped rain on us for almost two straight days. A few hours north in Phoenix, just on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the skies were a bit cloudy but dry and the Super Bowl went on as scheduled. Typical weather for these two deserts.
While on a short walk after the rains I saw a quail family parading across the street, a roadrunner and little red bird…gone so quickly I thought I imagined him. And the colors! Oftentimes we see Southwest décor depicted in bright yellows, blues and even purples. Most people can’t imagine that bright palette in a desert but I’ve taken pictures just to prove it!
I guess I’m a true desert rat. I’ve come to love the Great Southwest, so much so that my next two books are set there. I hope after you read SEDONA SUNSET and SANTA FE SUNRISE, you’ll love these deserts too.