Viewing: The Desert - View All Posts

AT THAT HOUR ~ James Joyce 

            Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico by Ansel Adams

At that hour when all things have repose,
O lonely watcher of the skies,
Do you hear the night wind and the sighs
Of harps playing into Love to unclose
The pale gates of sunrise?

When all things repose, do you alone
Awake to hear the sweet harps play
To Love before him on his way,
And the night wind answering in antiphon
Till night is overgone?

Play on, invisible harps, unto Love,
Whose way in heaven is aglow
At that hour when soft lights come and go,
Soft sweet music in the air above
And in the earth below.


This Thursday, March 17th, the Dmitri Matheny Group will premiere my latest work, The Caliche Code, at
Sacred Grounds Jazz Coffeehouse in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Caliche Code
is an extended form composition that tells the story, through music, of a mythical pilgrim's search for identity and community in a desert land.

The piece spotlights pianist Nick Manson as featured soloist, with Paul Anderson on tenor saxophone, Ted Sistrunk on bass, John Lewis on drums and yours truly on flugelhorn.

We hope you can join us for this exciting journey into new jazz territory.



Did I make the right decision in coming home to this suburban desert after 20 years in San Francisco? My days are so strange. There's something absurd about the sound of a lone horn, accompanied by a hundred humming air conditioners on an otherwise silent street. When I can't take it anymore, I get on the treadmill and watch another episode of Law & Order.


Solitude is dangerous to reason, without being favourable to virtue. Remember that the solitary mortal is certainly luxurious, probably superstitious, and possibly mad.
~Samuel Johnson

We must reserve a back shop all our own, entirely free, in which to establish our real liberty and our principal retreat and solitude.
~Michel de Montaigne

Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception. The tricks that work on others count for nothing in that very well-lit back alley where one keeps assignations with oneself: no winning smiles will do here, no prettily drawn lists of good intentions.
~Joan Didion

THE VALLEY by Los Lobos 

In ancient times
To a place so far away
Across the land
Where the earth was
As tough as clay

Looked at their hands
Looked all around
And they seemed pleased
At what they had found

Here in the valley
Bread on the table
Work through the day
For as long as we are able

Green is the valley
Blue is the night
Out of the shadows
Into the light

They could have gone
But instead they chose to stay
To watch the clouds way up high
As they turned to gray

And through the dark
Broke a crimson sun
And at that moment
Knew their lives had just begun

Here in the valley
Bread on the table
Work through the day
For as long as we are able

Green is the valley
Blue is the night
Out of the darkness
Into the light

Here in the valley
Bread on the table
Work through the day
For as long as we are able

Green is the valley
Blue is the night
Out of the darkness
Into the light


"According to 'Good Morning, Arizona,' the monsoon season officially begins tomorrow. What is monsoon season? It's when the tropical rains arrive, bringing welcome relief from the desert heat.

Here in the Sonoran Desert, we call these thunderstorms “monsoons”...a misnomer, since the term refers "to a seasonal shift in wind direction." But that simple definition doesn't do justice to the spectacle of Arizona’s summer monsoon season.

Every year, sometime between mid-June and mid-July, the prevailing winds, which come from the west most of the year, change direction and flow from the south and southeast. This seasonal shift of winds brings tropical moisture from the Sea of Cortez and the Gulf of Mexico into Arizona.

When this moist tropical air collides with the desert heat, monsoon thunderstorms--one of the most spectacular and thrilling of nature’s displays--are born.

We desert dwellers yearn for the crack of thunder, the brilliant flashes of lightning and the deafening downpour of rain that cools the sweltering desert heat and makes the creosote bushes release their aromatic, herbal fragrance...if only for a few hours.

And when a monsoon moves in, temperatures may drop from 105°F to 60°F in a matter of minutes.

I can't wait."



"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."