Monday, September 21, 2015

That Desert Rat in September Feeling

A kiss sends the first spark down the stem of a neuron that, in turn, fires another one, and an eyelid flutters open. It is the kiss of sunlight shifting a bit lower, of breeze coming through the window a bit dryer, of the mountains popping back into relief, of Orion rising into view. The kiss of late September -- the high water mark of the desert year -- can only work if the rat is the true love of things bright cool and Sonoran.

Moldy clothes hung in the wet breath of the swamp cooler will have to be aired out. Boots forgotten back in June when the sun ignited its seasonal inferno will have to be dusted off and broken in. The walking staff, left in the corner, when fellow desert dwellers took cover from the crushing heat, moves to the front door and then the back seat of the car that now travels to the trailhead.

Colors change. Bricks that were flat and dead in July now warm with pleasure, terracotta grace.  There is a poignancy to things. Mornings bristle with a crisp coolness. Clouds wink and pinch butts as the "come hither" sun rise promises a rendezvous worth making. You will not be disappointed says the wind, the runoff of the last of the monsoons.

It's time to wake up, to pay homage, to the waiting desert. She is receptive and open to your wooing, your passes, and she will return your love in kind. But you will never possess her.

For she will grow bright and searing again. It is her way. You know that, and that you too will follow the lead of the other subjects in the desert kingdom and go back underground when the time comes.

But now, she is here, and says, come with me. Grow lean and let the sun mark your devotion with the flush of color, the deepening lines around your eyes and knowing smile. Put your faith in the drying grass and the points of stars. Take your lessons and sustenance from firelight.

Your pulse quickens, your palms sweat, a drop of adrenaline sharpens your reflex, your attention. You anticipate what autumn might bring in its bag of treasures. The days spread before you, like shining stones lacking only the weight of your step.

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