Today’s prompt is to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live.
Daemon of the Desert
I disobeyed the first rule of hiking in the desert
which is turn back when your water is half gone
I hadn’t yet found the petroglyphs I wanted to photograph
and so I continued until my bottles were dry
thinking I still had one more in my backpack
I was wrong
I headed back toward the trailhead
but it was warmer now
no other hikers on the trail
no shade at high noon
my tongue dry
my lips cracked and sore
my arms red with sunburn
I sit on the ground too tired to take another step
and then I can’t remember—which way is out
and then I see her shimmering in the sunlight
dressed in white voile that flutters in the scalding breeze
an aura radiates from her
maybe she knows the way out
maybe she has water
I try to stand, but I can’t
I try to call to her, but no sound escapes my lips
and so I crawl
the rocks cut my hands and knees
she’s so far away
I try but I can’t reach her
I wake as she presses a prickly stem against my lips
a jelly-like substance squirts into my mouth
it tastes bitter but soothes my parched tongue
she breaks the stem and squirts again and again
until I can finally whisper thank you
she rubs the gel onto my face
and my skin feels cool
then she helps me to my feet
we’re standing on a hill
she points and I can see my car
not so far away
joy fills my heart
I turn back toward her—
but I am
I’m horribly out of shape. I blame the pandemic. I’m just not one of those people who said, “Gee, since I can’t go to the movies or go out to dinner, I think I’ll concentrate on doing pilates. . .”
It’s been almost a year since I’ve gone hiking. I miss it. I used to go once or twice a month. A few weeks ago I headed over to South Mountain Park and couldn’t find a parking spot. It was a Sunday. Duh.
Last Friday morning the temperature here was 60 degrees–in my opinion, the perfect hiking temperature. I drove out to the Pima Canyon trailhead at South Mountain to hike down the main trail, which is fairly level. I needed an easy hike. I took my camera with me and put on my larger lens, so that I concentrated on a medium distance instead of what’s close by. I’ve taken millions of shots in the park, and I wanted to try to make these a little different.
They all pretty much show how rugged the desert is. See that cyclist near the right edge of the frame below?
I got another shot of him a few minutes later.
Oops. The little circle in the sky below is not a balloon or a UFO. Probably just a speck of dust on my lens.
I walked as far as the intersection with the Beverly Canyon trail, then turned around and headed back to the parking lot. The next shot is toward Tempe, where my home is. It also shows the cloud of particulates effectively sealed in by the surrounding mountains.
I’m not sure what this group of people was up to, but I think maybe they have sketchpads? Or maybe they’re all just checking their phones.
I feel sorry for the people who have left items on the trails, especially for the poor soul who lost his keys.
When I got back to my car, the temperature was 68 degrees. Can’t complain.
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