The Vibrant Desert

Cloudy sunrise, Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park.

Nothing stood between us and the vibrant desert. Staring at the unlimited space fanned out before me, I felt magnified and ethereal, yet grounded….

I’d forgotten how enlivening it could feel, seeing clearly and far. Aridity frees light. It also unleashes grandeur….

Desert beauty was “sublime” in the way that the romantic poets had used the word —

not peaceful dales but rugged mountain faces, not reassuring but daunting nature,

the earth’s skin and haunches, its spines and angles arching prehistorically in sunlight.

Julene Bair, The Ogallala Road: ‘A Memoir of Love and Reckoning’, 2014