Thoughts on The Desert and Making More Space.

by Em Bowen

I just got back to Tucson after 10 days or so in the tree cover and green of Vermont. It’s a slow adjustment. While I was there I hiked twice and hardly saw any wildlife: just flying insects, in my ears, around my head and birds. At night there were fire flies, which I didn’t realize were fire flies at first and I thought I was witnessing a miracle. In a way, even in my knowing, it still feels like a miracle.

I commented on the lack of wildlife to my MFA peers. One responded, “This trail is the highway of this forest with tons of tourists like us tracking through. Would you want to be seen if you could be hidden?”

I want to be seen no matter what.

photo (8)

Goddard College, Plainfield VT

The desert has few places to hide. It’s all space and water retention. I was walking up Tumamoc Hill the other day in the afternoon heat and I saw everything. I remembered what it felt like to be so uncovered. The tree-lined heart doesn’t usually survive in the too hot desert, so I made sure to make space on the way up. I moved my arms all crazy, like I was trying to push and pull all the universe at the same time, because it was the middle of the day and I was alone. On the way down, more people came, so I stopped.