Sonoran Desert, Southern Arizona
“I hear America singing,” Walt Whitman wrote, “the varied carols I hear.”
I too hear singing, but instead of coming from throats of carpenters, masons or boatmen, it comes from sky and star and stone. It comes from weeds and wind and wild things. It comes from crow and cricket and cottonwood. It is the singing of the Sonoran Desert, and like the Siren songs that seduced Odysseus and his companions, I cannot ignore it.
I hear it as I help a student proofread her essay. I hear it while I confer with a parent about his son’s behavior. I hear it while I am grading papers.
At day’s end, I slip into comfortable clothing and walk into the nearby wilderness. The stones and weeds and dust greet me with rejoicing. They knew I would come.
California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) at sundown