Meditations in the National Parks comes from my learning in nature. Inspired by contemplative spirituality, I’ve meditated and taken notes in the parks. This series is the formation of those meditations. All words and photographs are my own.
Desolation contains abundant life. Easy as it may be to simply acknowledge this terrain as desert and leave its many forms unearthed, the difficulty of Saguaro rests firmly on the eye of the would-be beholder. Nestled in two parts with the city of Tucson bustling by, Saguaro sits silently. It is accessible to reach, but challenging to arrive.
Fear was every footstep. Did I hear a rattle? Or was that a brush doing its best snake imitation in the wind? Fear paralyzes regardless of the true source of the sounds.
I press on gingerly. Each step delicate, almost as if I could hear the coarse lumps of dirt losing structural integrity beneath the weight of my boot. Surely with a quiet step I can clearly discern an actual rattle?
Is that a rattle?
What about that?
Surely that one was!
I am still here.
The cacti dance all around me. I am in a ballroom, weaving between all of the flailing arms and legs around me. Their disposition is whimsical. They are joyous. It is as if they do not know they are in a barren desert. They love their home. They live here, always, bound by this community of cacti.
They are waving at me.
What is that they are saying? “Don’t be afraid”?
I let my guard down. Each step increases in confidence. Phantom rattles fade. Vivid now is the contrast between the crisp blue sky and rugged green-brown terrain. That creates balance and harmony in my spirit. The fear is still there, but I embrace it. It can be a part of me, but not overtake me.
I am present.
I am free.
I dance with the Saguaros.