(In Fourth of July Canyon, New York Mountains, Mojave National Preserve)


Endless sky of the Mojave in early March.  Cool sunshine, lingering snowdrifts in shaded mountain clefts.  A north breeze lightly, gently caresses pinon, lechuguilla, fragrant spring flowers, and delicate grasses.  Occasional elusive hypnotic fragrance of creosote and sage.  This mild window of spring will soon
yield to searing heat, perpetuating the cycle of eons.

Scrambling over an isolated rocky ridge I sense a soft, unlikely music: echoes of falling water.  I trend toward the distant sound, yielding to gravity, sliding on gravelly scree down the canyon wall into a hidden sunlit gorge.

A geometrically-straight five-foot-wide mineral vein traverses the canyon East and West, emerging from and disappearing into huge bounding rocky staircases.  It sparkles brilliantly in the sunlight, incongruent with deep red basalt, soft brown desert sand, splashes of liveforever, blue curl, claret cup, and rainbows of lichen nestling among its blocks and fissures.

At its lowest level, the seam of blinding white quartz cradles a flow of cold, clear, pure snowmelt gliding over its perfect, polished lip.  A tranquil pool mirrors this serene jewel, framed and graced by tendrils of desert willow; angular gray canyon walls; pairs of pygmy blue butterflies; desert peaks against azure sky.

I am once again blessed with the privilege of receiving a calming, mystical gift.

--William Walsh

I thank Chris Burns, Chief Interpreter, National Park Service, for her ongoing dedicated stewardship of Mojave National Preserve.