Desert Wisdom


Hiking amidst the beautiful Saguaro cacti in Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, Arizona

Hi Friends,

I’ve really grown! Now I look forward to hikes out into the desert! But it wasn’t always that way…

For the past twenty years, I’ve been visiting family in Arizona each year. Over the years, I have visited the desert Southwest in every season ~ Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. In the early years, I walked on the ‘sidewalks of the desert’…  through the neighborhood, along the golf course, through the zoo, parks, and so many beautiful places.


Everything changed the first time I brought my {future} husband to meet my family in Arizona. He had grown up dreaming of the desert, growing cacti on his windowsill, and reading books about the desert throughout his childhood. Just imagine my surprise fear, the first time he suggested we go for a hike into the ‘real’ desert!!  It was all so unfamiliar, nothing at all like the Midwest where I happily live and garden.


He took my hand and led me off the sidewalks, and into the ‘real’ desert. Over the years, our hikes into the desert grew longer and more adventuresome. There were some scary moments, on high trails, but I discovered the true beauty all around me! The Prickly Pears, the Ocotillos, the Fishhook Barrels, and the Jumping Chollas became familiar cacti. I learned to identify some of the beautiful wildflowers pushing their way up through the rock-hard desert sand.


One Springtime morning, just a few years ago, we hiked a long way into the desert and stopped to admire the Saguaros. There were beautiful mountains rising in the distance everywhere around us. The red earth felt warm beneath our feet and the brilliant blue sky overhead took our breath away. He proposed… and I accepted!  Now we have a ‘Secret Place’ in the Sonoran desert that we return to each year. It’s a very special place to reflect, count our blessings,…  and dream!

The Tonto National Forest, in Arizona, after the heavy monsoon rains.

The Tonto National Forest, in Arizona, looks so lush and green after the heavy monsoon rains.

Whenever we are hiking in the desert, the powerful mountains and giant Saguaros always make me feel very, very small. Being in the desert makes my worries feel small, too. The natural beauty all around me just fills me with Gratitude. It feels like the perfect place for Yoga practice (except for the prickly needles, sharp rocks, rattlesnakes, lizards, and scorpions!). Perhaps the desert is better suited to a walking meditation. Just walking quietly, with the dry earth crunching under our footsteps.



There is so much wisdom in the desert… and I am so grateful to return again and again to learn more! Now I feel comfortable surrounded by the desert flora (even the most prickly sorts!). Feeling comfortable about the desert fauna will take a bit more time! The hummingbirds, quail, roadrunners, jackrabbits, and butterflies are some of my favorite desert creatures. I’m not so sure about the snakes, lizards, javalinas, vultures, insects, coyotes, and bobcats. Those are the times I hold hands a little tighter, walk much faster,… and don’t even stop to reach for my camera! Perhaps I will always be wary fearful of them…


The giant Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) only grows in the Sonoran Deserts of southern Arizona and northern Mexico.

We can learn so much from Nature, if we listen to its lessons…

Advice from a Saguaro 

Stand Tall

Reach for the Sky

Be Patient Through the Dry Spells

Conserve Your Resources

Think Long Term

Wait for Your Time to Bloom

Stay Sharp!

Beautifully written by: Ilan Shamir


Meet this conservationist and poet in this video. His website is a nice resource for teachers!

The tall Saguaro cactus is my favorite desert plant.

There are so many wonderful lessons to be learned from the giant Saguaro!

Wherever we live in the world, there is much wisdom to be learned from Nature. A visit to the desert ~ even a virtual visit ~ is always a learning experience. Whenever you face one of life’s challenges, may you find strength in the wisdom of the Saguaro.

Thanks so much for stopping by today! ♥ Namaste.

Sunny wishes!


          P.S.  We discovered a big surprise in the desert, too! Just wait until you see it. Next time…


12 thoughts on “Desert Wisdom

  1. Dawn,
    I’ve so enjoyed your account of your hikes in the desert. It makes me wish I had hiked when we used to visit my parents, who lived out their years in Sun City West, outside of Phoenix. When we visited we usually went to spring training baseball games in the spring and enjoyed shopping and dining (along with long visits in their home with a golf course view. I think I would have enjoyed communing with nature in the desert.

    • Oh, Karen! Your parents must have enjoyed Sun City West so much! It’s lovely there! For several years, I hiked through the antique shops, the Borgota mall, and Arizona Center. That’s when I learned that palm trees are not native to Arizona! I only learned about the ‘real’ desert when my husband held my hand, as we started hiking. From our relatives’ home, it is just a few steps out into the ‘real’ desert. Such a perfect location! Hope all is well at your house, Karen. We have seen reports of such terrible flooding in California. Wild weather ~ from extreme drought to floods! Stay safe! ♡

    • Hi, Carol! Heartfelt thanks! This has really been a big year for walking adventures, hasn’t it? Hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season this year! Warm hugs! ♡

    • Hi, Linda! I’m so happy that you stopped by! Such words of wisdom from a ‘gentle giant’ in the Sonoran Desert. Sending warm, sunny thoughts your way! ♡

    • Hi, Jayne! Thanks for stopping by today! The desert has so much beauty everywhere we look. We just have to watch where we step!! Enjoy your very first Christmas among the Palms and Pansies! ♡

    • Hi Ginnie! So happy you stopped to visit! The desert will always hold ‘warm’ memories for us. Each time we visit the desert, we always hike to our ‘secret place.’ It’s fun to reminisce about all of the ways our lives have changed! Wishing you a special Christmas filled with warm, wonderful memories, Ginnie! ♡

    • Hi Chris! It’s so peaceful and quiet in the desert. I always think it would be a perfect place for Yoga (except for the prickly cacti, rattlesnakes, and scorpions!). I love learning about the plants in the desert! The creatures of the desert still keep me on edge, though. Sending sunny wishes! ♡

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