. . . and still the desert lives on

Through the extremes of hot and dry weather,
the undying desert lives on.
When the sun rises in the east and
hangs himself up high,
the cactus wren sings his familiar
raspy song,
the cacti paint the land with vibrant
colors . . . red, yellow, orange,
and the turkey vultures put old carcasses
to rest.
The desert lives on.

As the sun subsides behind the mountainside
and darkness takes over,
the bats soar in patternless flight, scooping
up insects as they whiz by.
The cougar patiently stalks his prey
step by step,
and the rattlesnake sits and waits for an
unwary kangaroo rat.
The desert lives on.

After the rains come in to swallow
the countryside,
the air smells of new life,
with cacti filling out and
the grasses turning green,
the ground squirrels come out of their
dens to play.
And the earth begins to dry.
The desert lives on.

And as man continues to tear up the land
by cattle and sheep overgrazing
and rerouting water where it is not
supposed to be.
The land erodes away
and the dust storms go up in a fury.
. . . and still the desert lives on.

Marla Hibbitts, March 1997