Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Desert's Bad Rap

I'm not talkin' rhythmical beats like those of Ice Cube, Eminem or Snoop Dog. No, not at all. On a totally different and non-musical note, this post addresses the dismal reputation that my dearly beloved desert has somehow acquired. When researching the word desert in the dictionary, "desolate," "barren" and "sparse" appear in the geographical description, while the definition reads, "any place lacking in something." There... Webster confirms it. The desert has unarguably received some harsh criticism, and in my humble opinion, unjustly so. My question is, "Why?" The desert is an awesome creation! And no, for those of you who are wondering if perhaps I misspelled the d-word and forgot to insert a second "s" behind the first... I didn't. Don't get me wrong. I love my French Silk pie, Charlie's chocolate cake and blueberry doughnuts, but I have also developed a strong fondness for this dry region characterized by LIMITED rainfall, vegetation and apparently, enthusiasts.

First, let's get a few things straight. Yes, the temperature is exceedingly hot here, and it feels like the sun's rays are reaching from the sky, giving you a tan in ten, or in some unfortunately painful cases, a blistering burn. And yes, we have more than our fair share of your favorite stereotypical desert plant, the cactus. The cactus comes in all prickly shapes and sizes and even produces beautiful, eye-catching blooms on occasion. It grows here wildly, free of inhibition, stretching along the desert flat lands and even the rugged mountainsides. Cacti can also be spotted adorning the stony "yards" and "gardens" of most suburban Cruces homes. In fact, planted right outside our front door is our very own cactus... which I'm considering naming, so send me your most creative suggestions. And... as if they weren't already everywhere you look and step, cacti are even sold in the produce section of the local Wal-Mart. I have yet to taste the rare and exquisite cuisine, but I'll report back if and when I do.

So, despite its fiery, hotter-than-Hades weather and razor-sharp foliage, there is an oasis of desert beauty that is rarely praised or even recognized. I think the Desert Tourism Bureau is to blame... or perhaps the classic and wildly entertaining Indiana Jones series is at fault. But who wants to point fingers? I'm here to simply give the desert, and specifically New Mexico, their due! After all, the Southwest is most certainly not the Sahara folks. So abandon any preconceived notions you may possess regarding my new, so-hot-it's-sexy habitat. Stay tuned, and I'll have you hooked on The Land of Enchantment and Enchiladas in no time at all.