Stopped by Mohave’s Mindfulness Lesson

marveling Mohave’s resilience ~d nelson

Sentimental journey down route 66
past San Bernardino mtn’s snowy peaks
into winter’s pleasant Mohave Desert.
A place I lived & worked many years.

One of the desert’s esteemed, waving residents,
the many-armed yuccas known as Joshua trees,
advice motorists & trains, alike,
to slow down, stop and be present.
Knowing that this precious desert being
understands resilience & fragility, I stop to listen.

See our uncrowded forest standing
joyfully; doing nothing more
than being present for ourselves, the sky,
the wind, the cold & the heat?
Can you do this, too?

By intentionally making time
to be aware & concentrated,
it’s possible to see the true nature
of what is right in front of you!
Can you do that, too?

Seeing the cloud in your ice tea,
seeing the misperception in your anger,
seeing the impermanent, non-self
nature of your self, are all possible
insights when truly paying attention.

Being stable, peaceful & without discrimination
makes you worthy of actions which
beneficially, help other’s survival;
not creating division or rocking the boat
during turbulent, dangerous times.

Sentinal of love

Lastly, the trees reminded me
that they, and other desert dwellers
are doing their best to adapt,
to stay calm despite increased heat
& fewer & fewer drops of rain.
Accepting the truth of things as they are.
Since 2001, the planet has recorded 17 of its 18
warmest years since record-keeping began (NASA).
Calmly, may you breathe in warm,
breathe out cool, dear ones.

105 Replies to “Stopped by Mohave’s Mindfulness Lesson”

    1. The Joshua trees
      & me, smile
      to your ever
      kindness, Maria πŸ™‚

      When I moved to the desert the band U2 had a hit album called, “joshua tree”.
      This song expressed, in part, my experience of living in the high desert:

  1. You have deepened my understanding of why I intuitively love trees and the value of being calm, not creating division, especially during turbulent, dangerous times. Thank you!

  2. Did you take the long winding drive to Flagstaff? Or did you go for a hike and pie ? I-17 can be a challenge, and a reminder that we can slow down our fast pace. I hope your trip home was safe and adventurous. Thanks for the desert pictures.

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Nice to hear from you, Marty. We walked around black canyon city a little, then saw that the freeway accident was cleared. I liked the idea of pie, but we had eaten a lot in Phoenix and were not really hungry, even for yummy pie. Maybe I should have bought one for the road. You went up and down the I17 many, many more times than I, so I appreciate the advice. It was a wonderful, short road trip. Nice to have a brief visit with your daughter. We walked around the park just up from your house. There’s more desert picture available for viewing.

  3. When I look at trees I am often reminded of the poems that have been dedicated to their beauty and natural power. In the dessert they survive and are strong and resilient. I was so saddened by the horrific fires in California. I love this line;” doing their best to adapt,
    to stay calm despite increased heat & fewer & fewer drops of rain.” We will need to become just as adaptable to the changes in our weather. The question is, will we be as strong. Thanks for the post.

    1. thank you for your thoughtful & kind reflection, Melba Christie!
      the trees & other beings dwelling in harsh environments certainly
      offer us guidance & caution. the future is certainly uncertain πŸ™‚

  4. David, thanks for sharing your reflections on lessons of the desert. Plant life in desert landscapes is indeed resilient and has adapted to the prolonged heat with sporadic rainfall. Because we humans cannot survive for long in such an environment, we have found ways to turn deserts into oases for human habitation. Our ingenuity at harnessing Nature to serve our needs has come at a great cost. That, to me, is the truth we much accept.

    1. i’m grateful for your kind supportive words and insight
      into a truth of what’s been done to mother earth, Rosaliene!
      in the 20 years i lived in AZ the population quadrupled!
      i could hear the cactus groan with each newly-built subdivision!
      seems reasonable that in ten thousand years, or less
      it will all look & function as a desert ecosystem again πŸ™‚

  5. The peace and nature of the landscape come out in your images. I can feel the warm desert air run through me. Thank you for your insight into this stark landscape.

  6. Nature speaks to us, but some don’t listen. It tries to teach us, but some don’t want to learn. We must be strong and speak up for the changes that will come. An enlightening post, David πŸ™‚

    1. yes, Michele, nature speaks, and has been doing so
      since the beginningless beginning!
      i’m confident that our early ancestors listened
      in order to survive.
      wishing you a joyful day πŸ™‚

  7. David, I’m stopped in my reading tracks by these glorious mountains! I’ve never heard of Mohave but will not forget them now. They are extraordinary…the range of colours astonishing, from deep purples to rich reds…I too would stop and be mindful with such vistas before me. I fear in the every day I do not always achieve such inner peace and resolution although now and then is not too bad! πŸ˜€ I am also amazed by the army of many-armed yukkas…they seem like lost folorn aliens, lonely as they are a bit apart from each other. Wonderful thought-provoking post, David that takes me far away from home on so many levels.

    1. i’m happy you could visit warm, dry Mohave desert, Annika,
      where the streets have no name!
      it’s quite beautiful in it’s colours & harshness.
      lets be sure to leave before the summer
      heat bakes us like an oven. πŸ™‚

  8. hello smilecalm its dennis the vizsla dog oh hay the dezzert!!! my dada likes to go their espeshly to sumplayse naymd agua caliente wot i think is dezzert tawk for hot fudge!!! i gess it shoor is hot their tho like yoo sed so they only go their in the winter!!! ok bye

  9. What a pleasure to visit the Mohave with you, David. Some people think of the desert as a place with no life, I guess they are the ones who zoom so fast in their cars to get out of it. But I love the desert, and have found great peace and lots of life, as I have birded different deserts in the western U.S. The open sky, the unique and adaptive plant life, the remarkable clouds and skyscapes, and resilient birds and mammals and reptiles. Thank you for this reminder of the beautiful Mojave.

    1. i’m happy you could come along & share
      your desert experience, dear Jet.
      it’s quite remarkable that birds
      & other critters survive that hot, dry environment
      without swimming pools & air conditioning πŸ™‚

  10. Your photos, David, made me stop and pause. Phenomenal scenery! So vast, so stark, so beautiful, so tough and resilient! This post is only confirming for me that the slowing down I have begun is exactly where it is at. ☺️

    1. thank you for sharing some slowing down
      time with me in the Mohave desert, Amy!
      by the time summer heat is turned on
      we’ll be going really slow!
      wishing you a pleasant moment πŸ™‚

  11. Your images were spectacular David. and you gave us the sense of vastness, beauty but also vulnerability in the harsh environment.
    And loved your narrative
    …… “to be aware & concentrated,
    it’s possible to see the true nature
    of what is right in front of you! ”
    So much we miss, because we do not live in the Moment. our focus is in the past or the future and we miss what is right under our noses.
    It is a great worry that the temps are at their highest.. And the Icecaps melting at such a rapid rate..
    May we all learn to breathe out Cooool.. my friend xxx

    1. makes me happy knowing that you
      are contributing to global cooling
      with your calm breath, Sue!
      thank you for visiting the warm,
      dry Mohave desert with me πŸ™‚

  12. Wonderful post David,
    heat heartbreaking and
    desert beauty – gorgeous images caught.
    If only we could all be simply presence,
    even for a short time.
    Alas there are so many who
    are unable or unwilling
    So those of us who can must simply
    do as much love as we can.
    Alison ❀

    1. smiling to your being
      present for whatever
      the weather, Alison!
      it’s wonderful to enjoy
      being in pleasant climes,
      enjoying temps
      just right, together πŸ™‚

  13. So well seen David and I like the red car partly included…and nature and yes breathing in and breathing out….I read about how breath travels…got to find that piece…smiles Hedy β˜ΊοΈπŸ’«

    1. i’m happy to have you
      along in the little red car, Hedy!
      perfect to breathe in & out
      with the windows down
      bringing in the desert air
      and playing the radio’s
      peaceful oldies station πŸ™‚

    1. thank you for your kind words of understanding, dear nia!
      many desert plants are already for a warmer planet,
      but many may need to adapt, somehow.
      wishing you a happy moment πŸ™‚

  14. David, what beautiful pictures and such true words! Thank you for reminding me of the wonderful Mojave! I can still remember the amazing smell of the desert when it rains.

  15. You captured the essence of our Southwest desert – I most liked the train and the highway image. The effect: coming and going. Always on the move….that’s how we are. The image would look good on my desktop come the spring. Now I enjoy a snow scene from Carson Valley. Thanks, David. The images were beautiful.

    1. your desert reflection makes me happy, susan!
      i experienced those trains in the desert many years
      to that newly captured image made the old
      become new again. yes, that’s us, coming and going.
      wishing you pleasant moments there in the high country πŸ™‚

    1. thank you for being a stable
      teacher of impermanence, Celia!
      i’ve heard it said that we’ll experience climate change
      like a house with a broken thermostat πŸ™‚

  16. Thank you for this very contemplative piece, David and the accompanying images that set the scene and the atmosphere.

    “Being stable, peaceful & without discrimination
    makes you worthy of actions which
    beneficially, help other’s survival;
    not creating division or rocking the boat
    during turbulent, dangerous times.”

    This part is so important ^ – if we can see how we can use these volatile times to practice our balance and thereby bringing overall stability, we can have a better sense of why we are here.

    The rising temperatures are real – Cape Town, South Africa is about to completely run out of drinking water and running water in its taps – partly due to bad planning, but mainly due to a crippling drought. In 2015 Brazil had a severe draught and parts of Sao Paulo had water problems. Temperatures are set to rise – and many people don’t believe in climate change in the face of real events.

    Perhaps now is a good time to grow a culture of preserving and saving water worldwide, as we are probably all going to be affected.

    1. i’m grateful for your stable, well expressed thoughts, Jean-Jacques!
      while i’ve long experienced the notion that
      things must get worse before they can get better,
      i’m not seeing anything other than certain extinction with that notion.
      i encounter individuals & small groups who act beneficially,
      but the vast majority don’t get it.
      i’ve read of Cape Town & other drought-effected lands, scary & sad!
      i’m experiencing it here in California, though we’re not running out, yet.
      i believe wise, energetic leadership
      needs to take the reigns & guide humanity
      in the direction of survival.
      as opposed to the direction
      we’re collectively being foolishly led, now.
      may your words bare positive fruits
      of happiness & resilience πŸ™‚

  17. Oh David, what a beautiful mindful post. The first photo is a gem. I drove through the desert 25 years ago, the global warming is indeed worrying.

    1. thank you for kindly reflecting on your desert experience, Dina. yes, the weather will cause some changes to human civilizations in the coming years. wishing you a happy moment πŸ™‚

  18. Such vibrant photos. I lived in the Mojave Desert (Coachella Valley) for years. So many long, solo drives through the vast emptiness. So eerie and beautiful. I always returned home recharged.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: