With the exception of the sky, a neutral palette dominates the Nevada high desert, including the flora which, in many other regions, is treasured for its ability to add interest and light to a landscape. But in the northern Nevada desert the vast initial monotony precludes many visitors from having a closer look, compelling them to dismissively move on.
“There is nothing out there,” is a comment I’ve heard repeatedly in reference to the high desert, followed by, “It’s dry,” or “It’s hot.”
One friend said, “It’s windy.”
My mother, a poet, expressed her sentiment about the region with a few expansive words: “I like New Mexico.” My mother has seen the Nevada high desert once, many years ago, driving from Utah to California on highway 80. Given her brief exposure, I like to interpret her response in the context of a conversation that my husband and I had with a car salesman in Santa Cruz, California:
“I used to fly over the Nevada high desert often on my way to Canada. I’d look down and think to myself, who would live out here? There’s nothing, nothing. Then some friends invited me to go with them on an off-road trip from Reno to Winnemucca. The moment we entered our first canyon I began to really see the desert. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was.”
It seems to me that these conversations about the Nevada high desert are reflective of our approaches to the landscape of life. If we don’t succumb to appearances, if we are patient, if we look carefully and watch closely, we might not miss that moment when God forces a bloom.