Walking among native palm groves, going overland in the desert from oasis to oasis, strikes me as an activity based in anomaly.  One can be wandering in a land with no surface water for miles and stumble upon lush stands of California fan palms tucked into remote washes. Miraculous. Overhead, cerulean skies with no promise of rain. All around, boulders of granite and schist, their surfaces hard and unyielding. Underfoot, unseen stores of water that only the palm roots can tap. And then among the trees, the rustle and hush of their fronds and skirts.


Photo of California fan Palm by A. Gaskill @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

These oases are antitheses of aridity. Their gifts of shade offer contrast to the desert that surrounds them.

Their literary equivalents? The serene character. The peace-filled setting. The inner reflection breaking up a tense and unrelentingly active scene.

From the oases, we learn to create interesting texture. We remember to vary the pace. We know the importance of knitting opposites into our work.

As a seeker of oases, and one who finds them, I remember to observe, to take lessons from nature. I remember my calling as a writer in residence in the world.


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