Posted by: drjamm | January 27, 2010

Prickled by the unknown

“Did you hear that?” I anxiously ask after waking my husband. It’s pitch black; and this is our first night sleeping in an RV parked near the Sonora desert. We had gone to sleep somewhat disturbed by the local weather station’s warnings of possible flash floods. The rain has been pelting down HARD on the aluminum roof all night.

“Is it a child crying? …Teens carousing late at night?” I suggest.

“Probably prairie dogs sounding the alarm that their homes have been flooded,” my husband hypothesizes. In my sleepy stupor, this explanation actually sounds reasonable to me. I am worried, to say the least.

I crack the window open a smidge to get more sound clues. We hear several long, sustained, high-pitched, wailing cries. “Coyotes, do ya think?” We give each other the ‘who knows’ shrug. We decide to try to get back to sleep. I fret. It’s all so unfamiliar: should we  be worried about the predicted flash flood? Are the local animals sounding the alarm? I eventually fall back into an uneasy sleep.

Why does this middle of the night muddle still surface in my memories when I think back on my recent desert trip? I think I was strongly impressed by how different, unknown, and a bit freaky the desert was to me. I found the desert “edgy” — especially during the unsettling winter rainstorms. I have never really thought about the existence of rain in the desert, let alone the possibility of flash floods.

Somehow I think I had a fresher encounter with the desert, plants, sky, and animals precisely because I could not rely on my old preconceived, stereotypes about the desert. I was a wanderer in a strange land. Actually, I was equal parts wanderer and wonderer. One minute the sun would shine and we would find ourselves peeling off our sweaters. The next minute the sky would fall into a dark gray mood that threatened us with whipping winds and buckets of rain. Everything — — even us — seemed to change its nature depending on whether the desert was peacefully sunny or darkly tempestuous. Ultimately, I experienced the desert as both weird and wonderful.

Journeying to a strange land,

Prickled by the unknown,

Eye-ing every weird thing with caution,

I stumbled —
And came home to myself.

— Jessica Motherwell

May you find something “weird” today that pricks your senses and brings you happily back to your beautiful Self. Amen.

*******       bright heart singing                          credits and links             *******

Photo credit: Photos by jamm at

Poem credit: Prickled by the unknown, Jessica Motherwell

bright heart singing, copyright 2010 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)


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