Tuesday, September 14, 2021

A Different Kind of Beautiful

Lake Mead
We recently (in June) went to visit our younger son in Nevada. It was a wonderful trip.  We spent every day going somewhere else - visiting state parks and national preserves.  We saw Red Rocks Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park, Mt. Charleston, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Grand Canyon (West Rim).  All in six days.  We walked, we drove, we gawked.

Before we moved him to the Las Vegas area, I never realized (beyond just a brief awareness) that Las Vegas is in a desert that is located amid mountains.  It is an almost entirely different kind of landscape than where I live in West Virginia.  We don't have desert here.  We do have mountains, but they do not look like the craggy, rocky, mountains of Las Vegas.  The greenery is very different; the wildlife is different.

Red Rock National Preserve
At first, as you look around, you think the landscape is barren - but its not.  It is full of growth and life.  There are cacti of all different kinds.  We drove through "forests" of Joshua Trees.  Joshua trees are alien compared to a maple or an oak tree.  There are silver plants, and gray plants.  Tons of lizards and lots of tiny chipmunk-like creatures.  On Mt. Charleston, (which does have a green landscape to some extent) we saw saw curl leaf mountain mahogany, whose woods is so dense it won't float.  Mt. Charleston is equal to four ecozones - it's like going from Mexico to Alaska.  Because it is an "island" in a desert, it has evolved endemic species that are found no where else.

As we traveled, I thought about our assumption that some things are lifeless - barren - because they don't look or function as we expect them to.  With the rocks and the lack of greenery, one might expect that the landscape is barren - but it isn't.  It defies our expectation and is teeming with life.
Grand Canyon

Another point - it is beautiful.  It isn't beautiful the way a green mountain is beautiful, or the way an ocean is beautiful, but it is beautiful in its own way.  

Life is like that, isn't it?



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