Viewing: The Desert - View All Posts


"I live in that solitude which is painful in youth,
but delicious in the years of maturity."
~Albert Einstein

"I never found a companion that was
so companionable as solitude."
~Henry David Thoreau

"It is not necessary that you leave the house.
Remain at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, only wait.
Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone.
The world will present itself to you for its unmasking . . .
in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet."
~Franz Kafka

"Solitude gives birth to the original in us."
~Thomas Mann

"Solitude is the salt of personhood.
It brings out the authentic flavor of every experience."
~May Sarton

"Talents are best nurtured in solitude:
character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world."


"There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick."
~Robert A. Heinlein

"If isolation tempers the strong, it is the stumbling-block of the uncertain."
~Paul Cezanne

"A good artist should be isolated. If he isn't isolated, something is wrong."
~Orson Welles

WARM VALLEY ~ DM on Farmer's Masterpiece 

Art Farmer made over 200 recordings, many of them brilliant, but to my ears his masterpiece is
Warm Valley on the Concord label. Art was at the top of his game, and the tunes he picked for the date are perfect showcases for the effortless logic of his improvisations. His band on the recording was one of his best, and they all give great performances. Akira Tana's playing on "Three Little Words," for example, is absolutely killing.

ARIZONA ~ DM on the Desert 

When I was twelve, my Dad and I moved west from Georgia to Arizona. I spent my formative years there, and I still feel a strong connection to the landscape.

The desert gives you a perspective. It calms your spirit and invites contemplation, in much the same way that the ocean does in California. Play your horn into those canyons and foothills, and you'll experience for yourself the Japanese concept of ma, the sacred silence between sounds.

SAGUARO by Brenda Hillman 

Often visitors there, saddened  
by lack of trees, go out  
to a promontory.

Then, backed by the banded  
sunset, the trail  
of the Conquistadores,

the father puts on the camera,  
the leather albatross,  
and has the children

imitate saguaros. One
at a time they stand there smiling,  
fingers up like the tines of a fork

while the stately saguaro  
goes on being entered
by wrens, diseases, and sunlight.

The mother sits on a rock,  
arms folded
across her breasts. To her

the cactus looks scared,  
its needles
like hair in cartoons.

With its arms in preacher  
or waltz position,  
it gives the impression

of great effort
in every direction,  
like the mother.

Thousands of these gray-green  
cacti cross the valley:  
nature repeating itself,

children repeating nature,  
father repeating children  
and mother watching.

Later, the children think  
the cactus was moral,
had something to teach them,

some survival technique  
or just regular beauty.
But what else could it do?

The only protection  
against death
was to love solitude.