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The Mojave Desert & Red Rock Canyon

8.07.2013
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Joshua Trees in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well...” 
 ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince


I travelled to the West Coast so my boys and I could visit the Mojave Desert and revisit family I hadn't seen for years - some in over a generation. We arrived to find my once teen cousins now parents to a new set of teenagers. It was heartening to spend time together, share tender stories from our past and smile through tales of happiness but also hardship and heartbreak.

And so the dynamic and drama of old and new, past and present lay bare and open, as expansive and complicated as the vast and wild desert.

I always find it remarkable how easily some family can make it seem like only a season passed since we last spoke. Conversations flow effortlessly like sand stones smoothed by gentle winds. And inevitably there are few others who remain cold, the small space shared between us barren and desolate. But I know those hold injuries that can be overcome one day. Family is exquisitely delicate terrain.

So driving back from our visit, I looked out pensively along the landscape of the Desert's Red Rock Canyon, its mountainous rock formations and mesas beautifully etched and painted from years and years of natural erosion. I marveled at the vegetation and flora that thrived and stood strong and vibrant despite extremely harsh weather conditions. Warnings instructed us not to disturb the plant life. Out in the open and vulnerable, it could take decades to regrow...

The desert reminded me how relationships need a great degree of resilience to thrive, that it can take many years to repair even the slightest damage and that pressures can produce the most extraordinary beauty.


27 comments

  1. You have captured the Southwest so magnificently!

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  2. Such a unique landscape! I haven't been west of Minneapolis (faut que j'y aille :)! Love you relationship/desert analogy! As always, Catherine, you photos and posts are inspiring!

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    1. Absolument Melinda! If you make it out West, you may just fall in love with the coastal landscape - sea, sky and mountains with so many opportunities for sailing - and then further inland, the marvelous desert (and Grand Canyon)... Seems I've already fallen :)

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  3. I love your analogy and your images are stunning! I'd like to invite you to link up on Wednesdays on my blog for Wanderlust Wednesday: http://www.timetravelplans.net/hotels-in-palm-desert-shadow-ridge/

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    1. Thank you for your visit and invitation Dana, I've linked up :)

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  4. Your images are wonderful!! Love the ones you've shared in black and white ... yes indeed, there is so much we can learn from the beautiful, yet rocky terrain of the desert! I remember a trip, as a young girl, from Indiana to CA to live near family. We drove through the Mojave, and after needing to park along the road late at night to sleep, we woke to the most glorious sunrise!

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    1. What an extraordinary experience Deborah! I can just imagine how beautiful the sunrise was/is beyond the mountains... sigh. Thank you so much for your comments :)

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  5. These are gorgeous images. Wow, the desert is beautiful! I love what you said about family relationships. So true that some a warm and some remain cold.

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    1. Thank you Kim,... I come from a big family so there's bound to be drama and lots of differing personalities. Good thing quiet lessons are all around us :)

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  6. Looks like a great place for a hike. Maybe I would just sit on that bench and watch the light change the look of those mountains all day long.

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    1. There were so many hikers around the mountains and mesas Eduardo, and I wanted to tip my hat to all of them as it was about 105 degrees F when I took these photos. I love the idea of sitting on the bench and watching the light :)

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  7. Wow! So gorgeous! We have friends who live near Red Rock Canyon!

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    1. Thank you Tamar! Does that mean you might be making your way to Red Rock soon :)

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  8. Wow ~ your words this morning really hit home with me. Most especially those last two paragraphs. I took the part about pressures producing beauty with me. It is something I need to keep in mind.

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    1. Aw thank you, you made my day :) I wish you well in whatever you may be going through right now... xo

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  9. gorgeous photos! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop xo

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  10. Such beautiful scenery, the blue of the sky against the dry earth colours is amazing

    Mollyxxx

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    1. It really was stunning Molly... thank you for visiting :)

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  11. That is a beautiful, moving post on time, resilience and evolving relations. How true a sign it is of connection, when you can speak to people you haven't spoken to in so long...yet it seems only a day has passed. Your photos are just lovely. I hope your boys are enjoying themselves too, these memories will be precious to them as well!

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  12. We viewed similar rock formations on our honeymoon in Vegas some years ago -- but I didn't even carry a camera with me then. What?! :)

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  13. Wow.. Beautiful series! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  14. Thank you so much Lulu, Kvvs, Nancy & Huldra :)

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  15. Gorgeous photos! I've traveled along I-15 in the Mojave Desert before. I recognize those Joshua Trees. I'm curious. Where are those benches located?

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    1. Thank you Jana :) The benches are at one of the stops on the Red Rock Canyon Park trail (toward the end)... though the stunning Joshua Trees were all along the highway from Las Vegas, Nevada to Southern California, I'd love to visit the Joshua Tree National Park one day!

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