By Travis Puglisi
Photo Credit: Travis Puglisi
I’m in love. I’m in love with the desert.
The feeling I have is typical of the amorous emotion, in that I want to be with the object of my desire all the time. And since I live in the Mojave, it would seem I am engaged in a long-term relationship.
Lengthy relationships, of course, do not always imply intimacy. Intimacy is getting beneath a surface that is obscured by cover. When it comes to the desert, for many, that cover is perceived distance, uneven terrain, heat, an absence of surface water or shade, and grabby vegetation. This combination of elements amounts to something like a chastity belt, a matrix of flora, fauna, and terrain, which gives the desert a romantic and yet unattainable feel.
But who doesn’t find a certain amount of challenge, and perhaps danger, alluring? The truth is, that the cover is the thing not to get through, but to get close with. Unlike some long-term relationships, my moments of intimacy with the Mojave have not diminished over the years. Instead, they have become more frequent and this has been accomplished by making my love my occupation.
I am a wilderness guide.