On Sunday, we took the backroads home. We drove up from Tucson, through winding hills in high heat, our little car working hard to top the mountains and mesas. In the desert there were yellow flowers, blooming cactus, and greens in every shade. Juxtaposed against the sandstone variations and the deep blue of the sky, the colors were striking.
We didn’t talk much. Too many days of busy left us quiet in our own minds as we took in the landscape and the silence. The desert is a good place to disappear inside yourself.
As the landscape changed, we switched positions and my love fell asleep. So I drove through miles and miles of land interrupted only by endless strings of barbed wire. Soft, undulating grass hills, blackened occasionally by lava rock and minerals, were yellow against a sky readying itself for a storm. There were no other cars, no other people. It was like driving into a painting, the landscape frozen in a muted pallet of gray and ochre.
Like art, the land is also, to quote John Updike, breathing room for the soul. At the reading and book signing event at the art gallery in Tubac, I gave everything. It was energizing, exciting, and gratifying. But after, I was a bit of a wreck. Driving home along those beautiful back roads filled me back up, and opened again the wealth of possibilities. I just wish I had remembered to bring a camera so I could share with you the wide vistas, the silent roads.