Friday, October 20, 2006

the desert within

Deserts have such-and-such an effect on people, and when Theodore Monod writes about his eye-opening trek across Mauretania in the 1920's, about how the other-worldly landscapes and tenatious vegetation of the desert have an absolutely narcotic effect on the soul and psyche, I think he is tapping into something fairly universal that is not very different from my infatuation with the southwestern American deserts, and the knowledge that stepping into the desert is stepping into a seductively huge, strangely peaceful and easily overlooked region of our psyche, wherein rocks and plants and stars form the words of a forgotten language.

Saint-Exupery tapped into this same vein, but it looks like the overlooked Monod beat him by a decade.


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