On the Verge of Heading Home, I Can’t Stop Thinking of the Word “Oasis”

It would be a great Wordle word, by the way.

Ever since we hiked Fortynine Palm Oasis Trail in Joshua Tree National Park, I have been thinking about the word. It was such a surprising eruption of lush green giant palm trees in the middle of sand, rock, hills, & scrub. It was a miracle really, underground water surfacing just where humans and longhorn sheep need it. Oasis comes from Latin and Hamitic language, like Egyptian. It means a fertile spot in the desert, a relief, a refuge. It’s a bit like the mirror image of an island in a vast ocean: a small place of water in a sea of sand.

I just like the word (all those vowels), its sound, its meaning, and the metaphor it offers.

How a whole world can seem filled with suffering, and yet we find places of refuge. 

In the Trump years amid that pall of relentless sadness, Stephen Cobert was an oasis for me. During those first endless and frightening no-vaccination-in-sight months of Covid, huddling with friends and family in the snowy air on our light-strewn patio with tower heaters and beers in mittened hands, that was an oasis.

Poetry is an oasis for me every day. Writing is. Ben is. Bird song is. My children are. My family is. My friends are. Trees are. Breathing is—being aware of my breathing is because then I am thankful.

Oases are everywhere I think.

In the last twenty-four hours I have read two articles that seem so connected to the power of finding and seeing oases that I’d recommend: The Atlantic piece by Arthur C. Brooks “How to Want Less” and in The Marginalian by Maria Popova a piece about the vision and words of poet, Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights: Yearlong Experiment in Willful Gladness.

The first thing I’m going to do when we get home is buy Ross Gay’s book.

Seeing the oasis from a distance
In the oasis
More beauty in Joshua Tree
and from Zion National Park
and from Escalante
& from Capitol Reef National Park
on the drive to Santa Fe
more beauty!

Stay safe, everyone! ❤️

4 thoughts on “On the Verge of Heading Home, I Can’t Stop Thinking of the Word “Oasis”

  1. Love this piece! And I agree…Oasis would be a great Wordle word. Safe home! Can’t wait to see you and Ben and hear about your adventures. xo


  2. stunning photos, laughed at Wordle reference, love the reverse of the island (I live on an island and definitely a refuge of sorts) and I guess this clarifies my email to you about when you’re heading home!

    Liked by 1 person

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