I have a fantasy. It is a different kind of fantasy; quiet but persistent, it whispers to me from its corner, in the recesses of my skull. The whispers are fed by a calm yearning for fulfillment. If I close my eyes lightly, these dry, scraping susurrations transform, building the landscape and world I envision for myself: my utopia. This is where I want to be.
I imagine sun-bleached bark. Flat, gritty earth. Low underbrush, dry and crackling. Stratified sandstone monuments, like sleeping giants against a flat landscape.
I imagine heat a physical force, a weight bearing down, pressing against my skin and extracting moisture on contact. A dry, merciless heat. Each thin breeze feels like ecstasy – feels like forgiveness. I can see the undulations of heat rising off the pavement in front of me, and off the distant horizon. I breathe in a hot, dusty air, and relish it.
The world is pastel-colored in an earth palette, and the lines sharp, angular, and severe. Giant saguaro cacti stand guard, surveying the life around them. And despite its barren appearance, there is indeed an abundance of life. With each step I take, I see flashes of movement, hear the skittering of small claws seeking purchase on rocks, sand, and bark. The slip-soft sigh of scales against sand. The high-pitched warnings of a tiny, bold sparrow. The low brush rustles with activity. I imagine the heart-leaping discovery of a tarantula across my path.
I love the desert. I love its stark, reduced beauty. I imagine myself there, living in my own house, walls thick and tan and textured. I imagine the dog I have as a companion, a dusky, lean canine the color of the sand outside. I imagine standing at my porch, watching the incoming monsoon: seeing a faultlessly blue sky turn suddenly dark and heavy with rain. Feeling those first few drops, sharp as bullets, driving into my skin before I seek shelter. I see the clouds cluster along the mountain range and the lightning dance along the ridge line.
I can taste that electricity in my tongue, feel it creeping along my scalp, shortening my breath and quickening my heart rate.
I imagine knowing that mountain ridge line intimately, as familiar with its paths and features as I am with a lover’s body. I imagine stalking deer, conversing with crows, laughing at peccaries. I imagine that I can feel the reverberations of a cicada’s call in my bones.
I have a desert heart, and it keeps pulling me into this world. How long until I can finally give in?