(I’m already at work on the redesign: the response from contributors tells me some way of keeping things on the front page longer than a typical blog layout allows will be helpful. But not just yet!)
Those of you who’ve been waiting for Carnival of the Arid #4 will have to wait just a little bit longer: I’m up against an admittedly self-imposed deadline getting The Clade ready to launch tomorrow. CotA4 will run Monday. This means you still have time to send in your arid-themed blog posts and cetera!
Cactus wren call and the smell of blackbrush. Four months since I woke in the Joshua tree forest. Sage sparrows and wind through pointed leaves. Four months ago I awoke after sleeping little. Patches of snow in the shade of Joshua trees.
There are mornings so cold they hurt. In January I could not tie my boots and the coffee was frozen. These days the sun creeps up slow and lingering behind Avikwame, behind the Castle Peaks, behind Kessler Peak in the Ivanpah Range, and though the first direct shards of sunlight may throw themselves down against sleeping forms I am not one of them.
Cactus wrens and the whir of grasshoppers. On warm mornings there is the temptation to linger. The ground is hard and first night’s sleep comes reluctantly. I awake a hundred times, glance blurrily up at the reassuring stars, pull the sleeping bag up over my face. Even in April there would be chill at 5,500 feet and three in the morning. Glasses stuck away in my left boot against the possibility that I will step on them, or worse that a woodrat will haul them deep into a midden somewhere, and now and then I will take them out, compel the blurry stars to resolve. Hard sleep comes at last an hour before first light. Each morning in the desert an ache, a slow procession of black rock becoming deep burnt russet, sky black then indigo then red, and the cactus wrens drill their songs into my head.
The sun will break free of the earth, surmount these peaks incarnadine. In a few hours it will drive all shadow from the forest floor, feed the swelling cells of the Yucca and Menodora. The Uta and the Xantusia will bask their lizard bodies in it, but I will not see them.
It has been too long since I have been home.
I’ve literally been pulling 20-hour workdays getting The Clade up, so not much in the way of writing from me here. (It’s not self-sacrifice: I can use the site as a piece of my web site building portfolio.) Even before launch, contributors have jumped on board and we’ve got some great stuff already live over there. Check it out. And jump on board yourself!