This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Plea for Desert Sand

Desert sand is the antithesis of ocean sand, since ocean sand has become a cliché -- our cherished belongings disappear into it, the tides do their feminine moon-thing above it, the smell of it reminds some guys of screwing, and Rod McKuen advertised it. Don't get me wrong: ocean sand has endless shades and temperaments, and each runs the gamut from odd to arresting. The photographs in high-end travel brochures never try very hard to seize it.

When I plea for desert sand, I'm pleading geologic time in hyperspeed. It's no wonder so many people who live on desert sand are crazy. And words like dune, Nile, and Gobi will always sound full of history and promise, which in itself is worth a plea.

Desert sand is being undermined by greeting card photographers. Ocean sand did not bring its reputation on itself. Desert sand will ignore any smears against it with dignity. Ocean sand retains a secret dignity.

Step carefully on desert sand; desert sand is proof that the fundamentalists in Kansas are wrong.


Blogger matty said...

I've never thought of this before. I've always thought of the desert as "death" and ocean sand as "life" I don't enjoy cactus or odd reptile things that tend to roam the desert landscape. I do like that Brazilian actress in that new movie about desert sand, tho.

...I forgot what I wanted to say.

Oh, yeah. Blessed be! That was it.


6:57 AM

Blogger ginab said...

and there's a difference. The sand in the movie the English Patient looked like mauve colored coffee grains. In Sheltering Sky, again the movie and not the book, the sand appears like it hates people, tossing itself in veils of sugar dust into the faces of Winger and Malcovich.

I noticed a difference, and you'll need to excuse me, in the sands from Barcelona to Tarifa. The farther south the greater the wind the finer the sand. And then in Tarifa I saw a bunch of sand flowers that looked a lot like these which look as though they grow in the dessert too.


Sand, of course, is hot when the sun's out no matter there's water around or no water for miles and miles and miles and miles.

7:41 AM

Blogger MilkMaid said...

I have some desert sand in my drive way you can have! We NNNEEEED rain.

In an odd way, I very much fell in love with the desert on a trip thru Arizona. It's a different world.

I've never thought about sand like this before. You are so deep! ;)

8:11 AM

Blogger ing said...

Y, know, Matty, I think "death" is why I prefer desert sand. . . And oh, cactuses (cacti?) are gorgeous in structure. Many of them live for a very, very long time, and you're right -- if we get old we are very lucky indeed. And you should see the low morning sun shining through their needles!

What is this movie you mention? And Blessed be!?! What a nice sentence! I am blissing out on it.


Oooh, is Sheltering Sky (the movie) any good? I'm dying to read the book, but I've got Amy Hempel right now and Sherwood Anderson next. Paul Bowles's deserts are very extreme, and wow, he could really write hate!

I excuse you ( : , and I was thinking about that, about how sand has so many grits and textures. Sometimes it's carved through by water, sometimes it's baked hard as clay, and sometimes it whispers along. Ooch, I have to navigate out before I can take another look at your flowers. Hang on a sec.

3:51 PM

Blogger ing said...

Okay, Ginab, I'm back. So what is that flower? It's definitely used to hard times -- you can tell that by how small the leaves are. I tried to trace back the image -- am I crazy, or does this come from a website on Crimea?

Sand creates its own climates. It gets mighty cold, once night falls.



What color is the sand in your driveway? Arizona, WOW! I just love those pink and orange sands. I now have a very sandy apartment, with a sand-colored rug, orange walls, and all shades of pink and red throughout. Now, if only I could force myself to learn to play my banjo!

I've never thought of sand like this before, either. I've had some time to myself, lately, and it's funny, the things I start thinking about when I have time and a place to think.

4:06 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Crimea was all I could find except I took pictures of the same flower in Tarifa, and I have it--I do--my own--on a c-disc. And then I have seen the same in South Haven. I felt like a dope in South Haven for believing i had never before seen such a flower. Of course poppies love sand and so does basil. Grows wild, basil, down by Wood's Lake (the lake everyone pees in). Must be something in the ...

7:08 PM

Blogger sage said...

I've just spent a week enjoying ocean sand, but I can't wait till next month and some hiking in the desert... The waves erase your footprints quicker, but desert wind also does a good erasing footprints too.

I love your picture and it makes me long more for the desert.

btw, have you read Craig Childs? If not, check out his writings about water and the lack of it in deserts.

And, in my humble opinion, desert sand doesn't say anything or care to say anything to anyone who lives in a Kansas cornfield.

8:13 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

Reminds me of St. Antoine d'Auxbury of The Little Prince fame. His short storys about his real adventures were great and remind me of your sand. Nice.

8:24 PM

Blogger ing said...


I've been finding wild basil growing next to my bathtub lately. But there isn't any sand in the linoleum, and I as far as I know, nobody's peeing in my tub (or if they were, they aren't any more).

Har har.

Carrots grow straight in sandy loam. But they don't taste as good as the carrots that have struggled around minerals a little. O, how I long to plant a garden!

Yesterday at work a gentleman came in carrying dahlias with petals that looked like fiery flames. He, too, looked like a dahlia. I gave him a piece of cake.




I haven't read Craig Childs. . . hmmm. I do love Mary Austin's Land of Little Rain, though, and Lopez's Desert Notes/River Notes (and especially the subtitle of Desert Notes). I will do some lookin'.


Josh, you just made my year.

9:32 PM

Blogger matty said...

I can't remember the name of the movie. ...but it is playing at The Clay and is said to be quite good. ...and about sand. ...and women. Want to see it.

shall we go?

I sent ya somethin' via email. it will make you laugh.

11:47 PM

Blogger matty said...

oh, blessed be is what all the witches in salem used to say to me. ...and, to everyone else. I liked the way it sounde, too.

but, i guess I am a hippie so it makes sense.

ing, i really don't think i'm a hippie. I wear cologne, eat red meat and enjoy disco music and loads of glitter.

and, i'm not too much for nature unless it is on the beach.

I don't hug trees. I try to be green but it just isn't humanly possible.

11:49 PM

Blogger ing said...

Matty, you are a hippie philosopher, is what I mean. Your philosophy is hippie. That doesn't in any way compromise your glittering gayness.

Yes, please, let me know about this movie. And have you seen Woman in the Dunes? I'm going to rent it tomorrow night.

I have alphabetized all of my short story collections and anthologies. I am now alphabetizing my CDs. I still haven't bothered hooking up the cable. Maybe I never will. I love alphabetizing!

12:49 AM

Blogger josh williams said...

I love the abz'S.

7:16 AM

Blogger sage said...

you will have to read Child's, "The Secret Knowledge: Discovering the Essence of the American Desert." I have his book, "Soul of Nowhere" which I plan to read next month when I fly out to Utah for nine days. It has a nice photo of desert sand on the cover--I'll think of your post when I read it!.

7:26 AM

Blogger ginab said...

That's not basil Ing, by your tub? It's your own ...

clean up!

1:14 PM

Blogger ticharu said...

If we don't get some rain around here it's going to look just like that pretty soon but WHAT is MATT doing??? How am I suppose to concentrate with that going on??? :)

3:56 PM

Blogger ing said...


Do you, now?



Thanks, and I hope you will check out Lee Friedlander's Desert Seen. It's full of chaotic photgraphs, really wild.



My own grandmother, I know. I shouldn't have left her there to turn green.



Concentrate? We do not allow concentration here. We only allow dancing and crotch-grabbing.

1:48 AM

Blogger matty said...

You must get yourself to the Clay as soon as you can to see HOUSE OF SAND -- kept thinking of your blog entry as I watched the end credits roll!!!

Don't hook up cable. ...only bad things can possibly come of it!!!!

8:42 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home