I like to think I am a person who can find the beauty anywhere….well, almost anywhere. Particularly when those places lean toward the extreme or exotic. I spent a month at Mittry Lake last year hiking across what often times looked like the surface of another planet. I marveled at rugged rocks, their only diversity being the subtle differences between the shades of chocolate, lavender, and mauve. This year, not so much. Three days was my max. It felt harsh, desolate, and dull. Last year, I was charmed by small discoveries like an Ocotillo decorated with Christmas ornaments, or rocks spray painted with “art.” This year, I looked at them through the eyes of a cynical malcontent.
So to leave Yuma bound for more of the same was an automatic recipe for more of the winter of my discontent. Under other circumstances, I know Anza Borrego would have proven to be intriguing, other worldly, unique in it’s austerity. But after the back-to-back browns of Quartzsite and Yuma, I was in bad need of more of an oasis than the glorious palm trees could offer.
This begs the question, Does my mood determine the scenery, or does the scenery dictate my mood? I have often had this conversation in my head about music. Do I gravitate to a certain genre because it matches my mood, or does my own personal atmosphere change with the music? In the case of Anza Borrego, I would say I would most likely have found it beautiful had I not been looking at it through beige-colored glasses.
As the thermometer rose, so did our altitude as we went in hot pursuit of cooler temperatures. We told ourselves it was to hike Volcan Mountain, but really, it was for pie…
I did enjoy riding my bike amongst the massively impressive desert sculptures. The detail on these sculptures created by Ricardo Breceda, the metal works sculptor, was mesmerizing. Breceda has created over 100 sculptures in the Anza Borrego desert, most of them animals which once lived in the area.
Although I have seen these sculptures on numerous blogs, I really couldn’t appreciate the magnitude until I stared into the hair-lined ear of a Tapir or studied the eyelashes on the camels. I was fascinated by the creative construction, from the muffler in the undercarriage of the jeep to the grasshopper’s delicate wings made from fence wire. With each stop along the bike ride, I found I was still examining the intricate, imaginative creations while my compadres were well on their way to the next stop. My intention was to go back later on my own to spend more time studying the scale, the construction, the significance. But alas, my plan was foiled by unseasonable rising temperatures. Driven out of the desert by heat…imagine that. What a beastly thing to have happen in such a beautiful place…
“If the desert is holy, it is because it is a forgotten place that allows us to remember the sacred. Perhaps that is why every pilgrimage to the desert is a pilgrimage to the self. There is no place to hide and so we are found.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams