“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.