The Truth About My Desert

I always try to take the most dramatic photos when I am out hiking in “my” desert, which makes it seem as if the place is wonderfully remote and serene.


Despite what the above photo shows, the truth is that folks in the nearby neighborhoods use the place as a dump. There are piles of junk everywhere, but instead of railing against what I consider a desecration, they become part of the mythology of the place and help keep me on track. For example, I know that to return to the city, I need to turn right at the pile of trash spilled from a black trash bag. At the top of that hill, to show me I am on track, is an entire suite of broken-down living room furniture. And on a more distant pathway in a more distant time, is this television.

One of my favorites was this lovely bear I found during my early days of grief. He always made me smile, reminding me that even on my darkest days, the desert, at least, loved me. After weeks of seeing the little fellow, I decided I should rescue him, but he’d disappeared. I never knew if someone else had taken him or if the strong winds had blown him to another sad woman who needed his message.

Mostly, of course, I see such things as discarded condoms, empty beer bottles, and ragged clothing, but sometimes a bit of color catches my eye, such as this toy I saw today, which shows there is beauty in unlovely things:


Or this one yesterday that seemed to be urging me down a different path than I had planned:


All in a day’s walk. All part of the truth of my desert.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

4 Responses to “The Truth About My Desert”

  1. Dymoon Says:

    when I saw the first picture, my thought was, I would like to walk along with you on that walk… nice

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Well, if you’re ever in the area, let me know. I’ll find a lovely, trashless place for us to walk.

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  2. Constance Says:

    Very interesting about what appears in the desert. Sort of reminds me of Ghost Towns.

  3. LordBeariOfBow Says:

    Thank you for not showing pictures of discarded condoms, can think of nothing worse. The mongrels who desecrate our deserts and country side should be castrated so that they don’t repeat this selfish disgusting practice.
    I’m a bit of a prude at heart.
    Strange how the desert becomes a personal thing, I recall when I lived in the Great Sandy Desert that I came to think of it as my desert.

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