As I begin to write this at our home base in San Diego, it is 58 degrees, breezy with on-and-off sprinkles. NOAA weather tells me that in our nearby Anza-Borrego Desert community of Borrego Springs, it is 64 degrees with isolated showers and wind speed of 29 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph. A fast-moving low pressure system is moving through the area. Last month we camped in the desert near Ghost Mountain, where poet, author, and artist Marshal South and his family set up a home they called Yaquitepec for over 15 years pursuing a primitive and natural lifestyle. While we were there we experienced firsthand how quickly showers and wind can sweep through the area.
Marshal South wrote in his article, “Desert Diary 2 – February at Yaquitepec”, in the March 1940 issue of Desert Magazine:
There is nothing “regular” about the desert. Uncertainty is its keynote and its eternal fascination… Against a backdrop of silver showers that screened the footslopes of the Laguna range the desert flashed up in dazzling brilliance. And over all, like a jeweled scimitar, its hilt in the desert and its point upon the summit of Granite Mountain, a mighty rainbow arched the sky. It will be will be a warm and brilliant day today. Tomorrow there may be snow. Quien sabe! This is the desert.
(All 102 articles and poems written by Marshal South for Desert Magazine from 1939 to 1948 can be read in Marshal South and the Ghost Mountain Chronicles: An Experiment in Primitive Living, 2005, Edited and with a Foreword by Diana Lindsay and Introduction by Rider and Lucile South, Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, CA.)
We are preparing for our return to the desert and look upon today’s rain as a blessing and a promise of more desert flowers to come. Marshal South wrote in his article, “Desert Refuge 56”, of the March 1946 issue of Desert Magazine:
But storms bring with them their ultimate reward. For beneath every bush and in the lee of every sheltering stone, new green life is pushing up through the desert soil. The steady drip of the rains has wakened seeds from slumber.
Wild Heliotrope (above)
Below is a field of Desert Sunflowers and Desert Sand-Verbena of Henderson Canyon near Borrego Springs.
As I finish writing this the sky is now very blue and the trees are bending in the wind. NOAA tells me that the wind is kicking up dust in Tucson, Arizona. We look forward to returning to the fascinating and colorful desert.