1 (a): arid land with usually sparse vegetation; especially:  such land having a very warm climate and receiving less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of sporadic rainfall annually; (b): an area of water apparently devoid of life
archaic: a wild uninhabited and uncultivated tract
3: a desolate or forbidding area




Desert (n.): “wasteland,” early 13th century, from Old French desert (12th century) “desert, wilderness, wasteland; destruction, ruin,” from Late Latin desertum, literally “thing abandoned,” noun use of neuter past participle of Latin deserere “forsake“.

Sense of “waterless, treeless region” was in Middle English and gradually became the main meaning.  Commonly spelled desart in 18th century, which is not etymological but at least avoids confusion with the other sense of the word. Classical Latin indicted this idea with deserta, plural of desertus.



“I shivered in those
when I heard
the voice
the salt
in the desert.” 

Pablo Neruda (Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basaolto, 1904—1973, Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, one of the most important Latin American poets of the 20th century:

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"The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides."

Jules Verne (1828—1905, prolific French author whose writings laid much of the foundation of modern science fiction)

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"A desert is a place without expectation."

Nadine Gordimer (1923 – 2014, South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature)

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“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...” 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Antoine-Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupéry, 1900—1944, French aviator and writer whose works are the unique testimony of a pilot and a warrior who looked at adventure and danger with a poet’s eyes, best known for "The Little Prince")

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“The planet’s famous red colour is from iron oxide coating everything. So it’s not just a desert. It’s a desert so old it’s literally rusting.” 

Andy Weir (b. Andrew Taylor Weir in 1975, novelist, best known for writing "The Martian," which was later adapted into the 2015 film directed by Ridley Scott)

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“A desert is a place without expectation.” — Nadine Gordimer —


The magic of the desert is perhaps to function as a mirror of sorts.

When I think about this unique land mass, I not only think about the Mojave and Sahara deserts, but also of the U.S. cities like Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Dubai of the United Arab Emirates.  In addition, I contemplate temporary desert cities created through “The Burning Man” art festival or the Coachella music festivals.  At these please passions can smolder and creativity can burn brightly.

Like taking a sabbatical from technology or doing a vision quest, a desert can offer alternative paths to soul searching.  It offers up mysterious doors for us to face our demons and a clean slate to imagine the unimaginable,

Where are the symbolic deserts in our lives, ones where opportunities enlightens, envisions, and to innovates?

Faithfully Yours, Tonya






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