Notes from the desert, Sunday:
Saying goodbye to the desert....

Tune for a Monday Morning

I'll be travelling home to England from mid-day Sunday to Monday evening (Tucson to Georgia to London to Exeter to our little village at the edge of the moor...it's a bit of a journey), so I'm writing this piece in advance and setting it up for automated posting on Monday morning (UK time). The music today is from Charles de Lint and MaryAnn Harris, who filmed this video for Charles' song "Cherokee Girl" here in Tucson and at Endicott West. It seems like a fitting farewell to the desert. I'll be back of course, and will continue to re-visit this landscape in fiction, art, and dreams, but my life right now is firmly rooted in Devon, family, and the Chagford community.

Rincon Mountains in rain

This weekend, we were blessed with rain in the desert. I know that sounds odd to friends back in Chagford, where we've had so much rain this winter that we're all in danger of turning into fish and floating away. But in this dry, dry land water is precious, sacred, and deeply magical. It deepens the colors of cacti and stone, and smells....oh, the scent of the desert after the rain is indescribable, but it's one of the best scents in the world.

The scents of sage and creosote fill the air

The Rincon Mountains

“A Sonoran Desert village may receive five inches of rain one year and fifteen the next," writes Gary Paul Nabhan (in The Desert Smells Like Rain). "A single storm may dump an inch and a half in the matter of an hour on one field and entirely skip another a few hours away. Dry spells lasting for months may be broken by a single torrential cloudburst, then resume again for several more months. Unseasonable storms, and droughts during the customary rainy seasons, are frequent enough to reduce patterns to chaos. The Papago [a.k.a. the Tohono O'odham] have become so finely tuned to this unpredictability that it shapes the way they speak of rain. It has also ingrained itself deeply in the structure of their language. Linguist William Pilcher has observed that the Papago discuss events in terms of their probability of occurrence, avoiding any assumption that an event will happen for sure..."

"Since few Papago are willing to confirm that something will happen until it does, an element of surprise becomes part of almost everything. Nothing is ever really cut and dried. When rains do come, they're a gift, a windfall, a lucky break.”

Wind chimes

I feel lucky indeed to have lived in the Sonoran Desert. Thank you, beloved and beautiful land. For everything you have taught me over all these years, and for this rain. I'll miss you. And I won't forget.

After rain

Comments

I hope you have a safe journey home to our green and damp land and look forward to reading your inspiring words as the year unfolds. Karen

Ah, so sad, SO sad. I feel like I'm saying goodbye to the desert too - although I've never seen it myself I have loved it through you. I'll be listening to Charles de Lint's album today while wishing you a safe journey home. Maria

Bitter-sweet and beautiful.
The exciting, uneasy pulse of life sometimes seems to sing and thrum its loudest on thresholds.
Safe travels home.
And thank you for sharing this journey!

As I recall, Charles wrote that song for you in the Quail House immediately after it was built. We've sung it in all kinds of settings: on various stages, at school visits with kids, on a raft on our lake, or just in our dining room with friends. We always encourage everyone to join in and send good energy out to those who need it as we all sing the chorus, hey ya, hey ya, hey ya.

Thanks for giving us a place to create and feel restored. Endicott West gave us a magic that will echo through the rest of our lives, and we are beyond grateful.

That is a beautiful farewell, Terri; you've made it come alive for me again.

I know that you and Charles will certainly miss it.

travelling mercies!!

And I'm glad it's going to be lived in by artists...

Thank you for sharing that post, those photos, and everything you share with all of us. Just, thank you.

And the first time I played it for anybody was that same night when a group of us went to Dennis and Martha Lee's for one of those feasts that Martha Lee puts together. I remember sitting by the fireplace, stumbling over a word or two but it didn't seem to matter. The song still came through.

Writing it was one of those moments we get as creative people when a story, a poem, a song, a piece of art seems to come through us from some other place and we just have to be paying attention so that we can be a proper conduit. I'm so glad the spirits decided it was for you, Terri.

We'll be playing it at FaerieCon in February, with Patrick and Nina and the voices of whatever faeries who happen to be nearby. And I'll be thinking of you, and the desert, and the connectedness of everything--just as I always do.

As a great fan of Charles and Mary Ann here in Ottawa, it was this song that originally lead me to you and your work Terri. You have all been such a huge inspiration to me over the past years and I treasure being a very small part of this wonderful and growing community of amazing, magickal and talented artists.

How beautiful is this ... the recollections, and the connecting that you cause, Terri Windling. Thank you so very much, the desert sang so we could hear. Safe travels back to Devon.

Farewell lady, you have brought us much and I doubt you will stop showing us paths we could not have seen without your insights. Respect .

Thank you so much everyone. Your kind words helped to keep me going through the last couple of weeks.

I'm back home in Chagford now, but moving through a fog of exhaustion and jet-lag. Myth & Moor will resume just as soon as I find my feet again.

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