The Great Exhale

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Oh, the relief of open spaces! A few weeks ago I looked out on a vista overlooking the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and felt something utterly amazing. The cluttering distractions of daily life seemed to melt away as I looked out to the expanse of open land in front of me. In fact, what went through my thoughts gazing out across the various textures and colors of the just-blooming desert floor was a very spiritual sense of looking upon the open soul of the land as it extended for miles in front of me, the ridges and mesas rising up above level ground, and the far-off mountains projecting into blue-pooled sky. I sensed a vulnerability in the wide breadth of outstretched wilderness that revealed a sparsely-watered, bare-boned earth full of what I perceived as authenticity and strength and yes, spring flowers. I watched humbled and in awe.

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Lost Dutchman State Park is about 40 miles east-northeast of Phoenix with trails leading into the Superstition Wilderness and the surrounding Tonto National Forest. We hiked the Treasure Loop Trail, Prospector’s View Trail, and Jacob’s Crosscut Trail early in the morning.  To the north of Flatiron Peak with an elevation of 4,861 feet emerges the Praying Hands, a rock formation that looks like a row of various sized and shaped hands pointing skyward in prayer. The sun was just cresting the tip of one of the hands and beamed with the splendor of haloed light:

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In the distance gloried Four Peaks which is part of the Mazatzal Mountains in Tonto National Forest. As a young girl, I remember my family of origin camping near Roosevelt Lake and going bass fishing there. Such great memories and great fish! Four Peaks is a majestic landmark I always love to look at because it rises up with a beautiful regal nobility overlooking the vast terrain. It is a mountain hued in different moods of color depending on the light, temperature, and season.

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There is a unique solace there in the desert amidst the saguaro, cholla, sagebrush, and Palo Verde. The desert beauty touched me deeply and I am grateful. I felt calmed and renewed. In the poem, “Dawn Revisited,” former U.S. Poet Laureate, Rita Dove writes: “The whole sky is yours to write on, blown open to a blank page.” I definitely felt the wide open sky and the wide open lay of the land which inspired me to love a little better, live a little better, and write a little better.

Albert Einstein said it well:  “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Here’s to wide open spaces . . . and hearts!