The Patio

patio wall

I moved to the desert.

Or more accurately, a “dry continental climate bordering on a subtropical highland climate.”

Also known as the “high desert,” here ringed with lumbering mountains still tipped with snow. Glimpsing the mountainline is like glimpsing the moon: every time I fall still and silent.  Every time is like the first: some things refuse to become familiar, even with repeated viewing.

I have been surprised by how gentle this high desert feels.  Even when winds whip up cyclones of dust, even when rain is visiting in sheets, I sense an underlying calm.  The sheer number of sunny days seems to create a comforting regularity, an inner knowing that everything will soon return to baseline.  Everything will return to blue.

In the register of sky-blue days, I would like to name the past two as some of the bluest, goldenist, crispest, and sweetest to ever visit planet earth.  When I most needed a rest, the weekend blossomed into a cloudless bastion of warm hues and sharp shadows.  Curled in an armchair on my little interior patio, I remembered how much my skin likes the sun, and perhaps even the sun likes my skin.  It left a mark—and in the suddenly odd-looking light of the bathroom mirror, I find I have grown a shade darker.  Or perhaps just shed a winter skin, revealing the summer child waiting within.

Also with seeming suddenness, the evenings are not so cold.  I can remain in my favorite perch on the patio, watching the sun sink away behind the northwest wall (rudely ignoring my petitions to please stay a bit longer), until I am sitting under the authority of the constellation Cepheus.  Then the moon swims higher and higher from the east: and I fall still and silent.

I am usually awake all of the night, and also beg it not to leave me so quickly (the moon is equally impervious to my wishes, though it was still visible on the horizon when I crawled into bed this morning).  Being a nocturnal creature puts me at odds with most of my species, but it is morning people I pity.  Mornings are full of bleak human noises, radiating caffeine and fears of being late and inferior.  It is the perfect time to go to sleep.  Much better to be alert during the deepest hours of night, alight with stars and crickets and moon shadows.  I imagine the churning dreams rising from human beds keep my own imagination company: After all, people often make their most interesting statements at night, whether or not they remember.

may 24 2016-8

My body is darker and feeling more solid in these long stretches of midnight blue followed by afternoons of simmering gold.  Is there anything greater to aspire for, but sitting outdoors absorbed in shades of blue and gold?  A patio in late May, and I know myself not as indebted or sick or confused: No, I am queen of this courtyard, another creature of the night, and in this moment under Omicron Cephei, again a summer child bonding with the faces of my parent sun and moon.